The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 12 F
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 7:38 pm 
Hi Garner,

First, apologies for taking so long to respond to this chapter. So much to read, so little time.

Once again I'm in awe of the way you are able to get inside Tara's thoughts and emotions. It brings back memories of being young and newly in love -- the insecurities, the highs and lows, the impatience with the world that keeps interfering (that part is still there; fortunately the rest evens out in time.)

Things that stick in the mind, in no particular order: 1. dealing with Mandy and her nasty crew. Interesting that Tara, with all her insecurity, is able to shrug them off as unimportant. I suspect it's partly due to maturity, partly due to the lifetime of abuse she's faced, which makes this seem like no big deal. Willow's anger is in character; the solution they come up with is elegant and just. I wonder how long it will take for apologies to be forthcoming.

2. The painting scene, and the dream/vision of the house that followed. This being the Pens, we can hope that the future will unfold differently, and that they will have that house, and that life.

3. The Lowell House incident. You let us see how the influence of the spirits effects Tara's thinking, leading to the outburst on the stairs. It wasn't just a sudden event, but a process of feeling more and more revulsion and guilt, along with the pleasure and attraction. No wonder she was so confused. Her feelings of guilt and fear afterwards, while not entirely reasonable, were understandable. Which leads to:

4. The poem. It's a beautiful poem, expressing Tara's love and yearning for Willow. It's what Tara would have written, and Willow's reception of it was perfect. So, with Willow and Grimmy, I say, "no more getting down on yourself."

This story being Tara's inner ramblings, we see her insecurity and self-doubt, as well as her idolizing Willow. However, I suspect that if the story was written from Willow's point of view, we'd see much the same thing in reverse. A hint of this appears in Willow's babble: "it still stung and made her feel all disgusting and ugly like no one would ever love her again cuz she was such a spaz and nerd ..." Even at this early date Willow is dependent on Tara's love to make her feel worthwhile.

You mention in response to RaiStarr how uncomfortable you are with writing erotica. I can certainly understand your feeling that way, but have to say: a) you do it very well, and b) it's pretty much a necessary part of this story.

Regardless of how you choose to write it, I'm sure your treatment of NMR will be as well done as the rest has been.


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 12 F
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:27 pm 
Russ, thanks for the compliments, and no big deal on not responding earlier, this was a long update and there was a lot to read. I am sometimes amazed at how fast the rest of you are at getting through what takes me much longer to write! Anyway, I would also put Tara's nonchalance towards the harrassment off to Willow's presence too. It might bother her more if she didn't have her. As for the happy future, well, I am a firm believer in season sux never having happened. It was just an AU written by the worst kind of fan fic writer and should be ignored! Blech. :) I figured there was probably more to what happened Lowell than we saw. And it is even possible Willow was acting a bit more forward than normal because of the spirits too. But you're right, Willow does need Tara as much as she needs her, Tara just doesn't realize that yet. I don't know if she ever really did. It's also part of what makes the season sux stuff so unbelievable for me. I am glad you liked the poem too, that's not my specialty. Actually I have another story which I intended to include a poem in and couldn't get it right and have stalled near the end because I hate the way it goes. Ah well. Maybe I'll go ahead with it anyway.

I do tend to agree that the story sort of demands the same level of detail in Willow and Tara's first sexual episode as the rest of the journal. Plus it should be a very important event for Tara, her not describing her thoughts and such would be out of place. So I will probably get good and snookered (at least a little bit) and give it a go. Being male I'll probably get it all wrong, but that's what all, or at least some, of you nice kittens are for, to show me where I messed it up. :)

Actually, I have a dilemma about something else, too. I have about ten pages of NMR done, and haven't even gotten to the start of the episode yet. Sad. I'm thinking I'll go ahead and post them as an interlude afterall, and then do the episode rather than posting a gigantic 30+ page update all at once. That could take a bit longer and at least you get something sooner than later. I'll have to think about it.


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 12 F
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:20 pm 
I'd love to leave something as articulate as Grimmy or Russ does, but I'm mostly speechless.

Saying that up is down will not make up, down.

~Gene Burns

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 12 F
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 10:25 pm 
I dont mind the lack of NC-17 and I did think it was hot. I'm sure I will not be disappointed in whatever you do.


Forgive me now! Tomorrow I may no longer feel guilty...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13A
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 9:59 am 
Tempest Duer, hopefully that's speechless in a good way, not in a horrified manner. I sympathize, sometimes everyone else seems to say all that needs to be said and there's little else to add.

Rai, I will probably attempt a more explicit, NC-17 style as I do tend to think it fits, but I do beg everyone's indulgence on likely messing it up, so bear with me. But that's for next time.

Well, hopefully this won't be too mundane or dull. I did decide that an interlude now would help make NMR more selfcontained and not quite so long. That is next. Hopefully this will keep you occupied for a little while till I get that done. This should be in two parts.

Title: From the journal of Tara MaClay Pt. 13A&B

Rating: R (maybe bumping NC – 17)

Summary: The events just before New Moon Rising in Season 4. This is sort of a slice of life interlude, somehow it felt right at this point.

Note: Written April 2004. The entries are no longer consecutive days, some gaps may appear. I am such a tease. This is the a little quality time together prior to NMR. And I couldn’t have that be part 13 now could I? :)

                                A SUNDAY INTERLUDE

Sunday Evening: She’s off for the moment, but she’ll be back, and sooner than later. I’m drunk, high, totally buzzed, not on anything but her, Willowy-goodness. I hardly know what to write at this point, hardly know what it is I’m feeling, this happiness is too foreign for me. It’s like events are starting to blur together in one long streak of satiny, red hair and soft lips, a smell that’s indescribable without having breathed it in. I’m love crazy, there’s no better explanation for it.

        And no matter how close we lie together, how much we touch, I still feel like I want, no need, to be closer to her. This morning we woke together, as in at the same time, I think that might be a first. In my slumbers I felt the wind blowing, heard my name being called though I couldn’t quite place the voice. But I got a sense of magic flowing around me, a tingle that I could only associate with her and I sensed the nearness of her. It ended suddenly with such startling quickness that it jarred me awake and as my eyes opened I found myself looking into her just opening deep green eyes. The sleep was heavy on her too, but she looked out at me and smiled, a mirror of my own, and I leaned forward ever so slightly to rub her nose with mine. The resultant tingle from the contact was so strong, like we had been working magic for hours. Even in the morning with her hair sort of askew and the weight of the night upon her she’s still so beautiful, angelic.

        We kissed and laughed, let our hands mingle, closed our eyes a moment and sighed at the silky warmness of being pressed together. After a few moments I could stand it no longer and I wrapped an arm around her and hugged her to me in a half embrace, then rolled her on top of me so I could fully press her to me, really know that this was real and not a dream. Goddess, never let me get so complacent that I take this, her, for granted. Let me always treasure the time we have together. It makes everything worthwhile.

        We made out for a little while, but nature calls after even the most wonderful of nights and so we got up, fastened our tops and headed to the showers. On our return Mandy passed us in the hallway with a glare. Her nose was swollen and it looked like a patch of her hair had been cut or burnt away unevenly. She was dressed for church and as she passed still shooting us evil looks. A long heel cracked and came loose, she reached out to catch herself and a couple of her nails shattered with a slight snap against the wall. She cursed, but by then we were past her and I don’t know if anything else happened.

        I do know she slipped an arm around my waist and laid a very satisfied head against my shoulder. Yeah, she can be a little fiend all right.

        Back in the room we noticed it was already mid-morning, so we decided to get something to eat, and then do a little shopping, go see what was new in CDs, check out the book store, maybe even see what clothing places were open. She’d promised her parents she’d stop by this afternoon, but said she’d come back right afterwards.

        We had a fun afternoon too, one of the best, though as I’ve noted, each succeeding day with her is just better and better. If this keeps up I should end up exploding from happiness by the end of the week!

        Instead of going to a fast food joint we decided on one of those pancake places. I actually have fond memories of a restaurant like that from home. I still remember after going to church on Sunday mornings Mother would sometimes suggest that we go to Sandy’s at the edge of town by the highway for brunch. She didn’t bring this up more than once every third month or so, but Father never objected. Maybe he was just in a good mood after church or felt that after worship we needed the extra fuel. I loved the smell, the little twirling rack with the extra syrups of all different flavors and how I was allowed to use the blueberry one if I wanted. We actually seemed like a normal family then, one amongst all the others, doing normal breakfast things.

        Of course for about the last year when Mother was sick we never went there. She couldn’t handle the sugar and fatty breakfast meats any longer, just didn’t have the energy, and Father never took us there by himself.

        Some of this must have tinged my mood because she asked what was wrong, why I had such a pensive look on my face? She said it seemed like I was a million miles away. I sighed and told her she wasn’t the only one with a noisy head. She wanted to know what I was thinking about and I grew nervous and evasive saying just thoughts all tumbling down the corridors from the past, nothing important now.

        Still, she took my hand and said that if she’d known coming there would’ve dredged up unhappy memories she wouldn’t have suggested it and we could leave right away. Ah, Mother, see how kind she is, see how close we’ve come that she can already start to read me so well. I told her it was just bittersweet nostalgia, but she took my hand and kissed the back of it right there in the booth! It caught me so much by surprise that I must have been brighter than the strawberry syrup. I had to turn away and look down because if I’d seen that look on her face I would’ve started crying for sure, and not from sadness, not from joy, just…I don’t know, sometimes I still feel so unworthy to be with her. I know I shouldn’t, that she cares very deeply for me, but she really seems to pay attention to me, know how to make things better, make me feel…well, almost loved. What did I ever do to deserve that?

        Finally I looked at her and smiled, sniffled a little bit and then grabbed the red syrup and poured: I, a heart and U on her pancakes. It was silly and stupid, but I just wanted her to know, to never doubt that she’s the one that brings me so much happiness. She looked a little surprised and blushed, looked around for a moment and then smiled back at me and said I was too cute for words.

        The rest of our breakfast/brunch went fine. We talked about this and that, all right mostly witchcraft and some of the cool spells we wanted to try. She still wants to conjure a nature spirit of some sort, and I couldn’t help mentioning that May Day was coming very soon and that called for some special magic.

        It took her a few moments before she made the connection and her blush deepened to match the one I was probably wearing, too. I know I felt hot and nervous, I’m hardly ever so bold, but I just felt so good and it seemed fun to tease her a bit. Give her a little of her own medicine!

        We left after stuffing ourselves and I was glad we were going to walk around and do some shopping. All that food, I’d never want to get any bigger, I mean, not that I’m fat or anything, but she’s so thin and I never want her to cringe at the sight of me. I don’t think she ever would, I was probably just being negative again, a little part in the back of my mind still afraid that somehow this will come to an end, that I’ll do something to jinx it.

        We went to a music store first, they had incense burning which was nice and we looked at the various CDs, well, she looked and I kinda tagged along. I’ve been listening to the radio more, trying to get a better sense for the music of today, but a lot of it just seems too, I don’t know, I don’t like the ones that are all angry and nasty, that lack much actual music, only loud hostile voices. Maybe it’s just that Mother and Father only really liked gospel stuff. Maybe I just needed to grow up in the big city instead, get used to it.

        She found a few albums that she wanted, and thought maybe we could listen to them tonight, but I said I didn’t have a CD player. She looked aghast at that and said maybe we’d get one for my room if they weren’t too expensive. I…I must have looked scared or something and I admit the idea had never occurred to me, and I was sure that would be the kind of thing that Father’d be angry about, but since I was here and not home I supposed it really was my choice not his and would be all right if it weren’t too expensive and…her laughter cut through my inner babble and I know I felt naughty and confused for a moment, especially when she took my hands and said it was no big deal. Boom boxes were cheap, under forty dollars but if I didn’t feel comfortable getting one that’d be all right. We could just look and she’d let me decide.

        Goddess, it’s amazing how she constantly challenges the fixed notions and assumptions I have, makes me reassess and knock them down. There really was no reason I couldn’t have one, I mean I did have to watch my money and everything, but I’d hardly spent my whole scholarship from last semester.

        While she was paying I absently looked at one of the bulletin boards and noticed a flyer for a band playing at the Bronze Monday night. I thought the name was familiar, but couldn’t place it and asked her if she recognized it?

        She got all excited and said it was one of the few all girl, mostly local bands, they played the coast and had a nice alternative techno sound that was very cool. She couldn’t believe they were going to be here and said we definitely had to go. I stated it sounded like fun and we’d count on it. Even the guy behind the counter was excited about them being in town.

        We left and continued down the main street looking at some of the clothes in the windows, stopping in at the Magic Box to pick up a few components, see if anything new was in. The proprietor was friendly, as always, and we chatted for a few minutes with him, too. He remembered my name, and Willow and I joked about coming in too often.

        After that we headed towards the electronics discount store near the end of the district. I knew she’d want to stop by the big bookstore afterwards, and this seemed like the best route, besides, if we went there last we could get some moccas and possibly a muffin.

        It was a nice warm afternoon as we ambled down the sidewalk. There were a few clouds out but they were high and fluffy white. A slight breeze was blowing, bringing just the last faint hint of a chill with it. It ruffled her short hair a little, while mine wafted about my face. She reached out and tucked the strands behind my ear, but the next gust brought it fluttering back. The branches of some of the nearby bushes had little spring blossoms on them adding some color to the bright green leaves and also waved merrily. I smoothed out her hair and our hands came together and we walked the rest of the way with them clasped together, smiles adorning our faces while our arms swung gently. We paused here or there to look in a few of the windows and oohed and ahed over the fancier dresses.

        Eventually we crossed the street to the electronics warehouse where the parking lot was pretty full and people made their way to and from their vehicles. As we made our way down the entrance ramp to cross the blacktop we heard some voices coming to us from one of the cars. They called us senoritas and made a sort of lewd offer that made me clench her hand a bit tighter. We ignored them, but three guys in tan slacks and bright colored shirts jumped out of their convertible and moved towards us. They had short, oily, black hair and a sort of swarthy caste to them, and though none were very big, I got even more nervous.

        The nearest said we shouldn’t be like that, they were fresh in town and looking for a good time. They knew how to party and we should come hang out with them at the beach.

        I hung my head and my hair flopped in front of my face, but after a moment I looked up again not wanting to appear weak while she said we weren’t interested and were busy doing some shopping.

        We kept moving but they fell in about us and another said they’d treat us right, that pretty girls like us shouldn’t be without a guy to look after them. Another said they had the stuff that would loosen us up and grabbed his crotch. It was strange, though they were Hispanic and accents tinged their voices, it could have been Donny or any of his friends speaking instead. I always hated how they used to get up in other girls’ faces and just keep pressuring them and pestering. Sometimes…sometimes I was glad I was so plain and homely that no one was ever interested in me.

        She repeated that we weren’t interested, went to continue on when one blocked her way and said something like, ‘come on, no fingers are gonna satisfy you like a real man.’ Another agreed and said if we partied with them we never be forget it, which made them all laugh.

        She got her scrunched brow again and pushed past the first one, pulling me along behind her, reiterating not interested and to just leave us alone. We got a few steps away and they all hooted; speaking quickly in Spanish amongst themselves, before one shouted he wouldn’t want such a fat cow anyway and then something about VD and tongues that I couldn’t make out.

        Her hand clenched down on mine painfully and I could feel her swing about when a clear familiar voice said, ‘Is there a problem here?’ in a commanding tone.

        Riley strode across the lot in a dark blue suit, his tie twisting in the wind. The other three seeing him held up their hands and said no, no problem, they were just leaving and used words like ‘jefe,’ ‘hombre,’ and I might have heard a soft curse and ‘narc.’ They retreated to their big car and backed out before taking off with a squeal.

        She was all protective and took my shoulders and asked if I was all right, which I was of course, and said so and Riley also inquired if we were OK and what happened. She went off on a tirade about how you couldn’t go out without someone hitting on or bothering you, being so repugnant and not taking no for an answer. He said he knew the type, and that when they saw two women together it made them especially determined and obnoxious. I added, in a stuttering voice that they weren’t really picking on us, just the kind that didn’t ever back off easily.

        Willow, still angry asked what he meant by together, in a clipped, short voice. He raised his hands and said he’d seen his sister and her girlfriend go shopping enough times to know a couple when he saw one, and that he’d already promised me not to bring anything up, even to Buffy.

        She looked at me, then him, with eyes wider than normal and it did bring a smile and near chuckle to my lips. I told her that Riley helped out with the Lesbian Alliance from time to time and had recognized me from there, and that I’d done a poor job hiding my interest from him.

        The anger drained from her as she sort of slapped his arm and said here she’d thought she was the only matchmaker in town. He smiled and said he hadn’t done anything, it looked like we had things well in hand, both today and earlier, but I thanked him anyway. I didn’t say it, but if she would’ve exploded her indignation probably would have caused a worse situation. She seconded the thanks.

        He replied that back in Iowa he’d gotten into enough fights with other guys about his sister, but he didn’t expect that here and he sort of gazed at the exit with a distant look on his face and a clenched jaw.

        I asked what he was doing here, and he responded looking for a small gift for Buffy. He’d thought a CD or maybe she might like a Bruce Lee movie, something like that. She asked if he always dressed up for shopping and that got a laugh and that he’d come straight here after church.

        We all decided to go in, Willow still seeming a little flabbergasted, yet still not letting go of my hand. At one point when he said he was glad things were working out for us, I swear she turned brighter than I’ve ever seen her before and did the head duck thing, though she did stand closer which was nice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her quite at such a loss for words. She stayed shyly behind me and kinda trailed along while we looked at the DVDs and stuff. It was sort of cute to see her that way, made me feel like the brave one for a change.

Continued immediately below...

Edited by: Garner at: 5/3/04 10:03 am

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 10:05 am 
From the Journal Part 13B, Sunday Interlude.

Eventually as all of us went through the racks and finally found or selected what we’d come for, I did indeed find a nice boom box that wasn’t too expensive. She must have gotten over her nervousness because she started asking him all sorts of questions about his sister, home and all that. Ah, my girl’s curiosity reasserting her normal self!

        He answered that her name was Sue, she was a year older than him, and she realized she was gay around sixteen or so. She had a girlfriend for a while in high school after that, but it didn’t work out as his sister wanted to go to college while the other girl didn’t, or couldn’t afford it. His parents were shocked at first, but pretty quickly accepted it and her, were part of PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, which he was, too, and they still all got together over the various holidays. She even brings her lovers home occasionally. It seemed like they were pretty close.

He’d ended up in a ton of fights, a lot of the time with older boys or several at once, but he’d always been big, strong and it taught him how to fight. He guessed it probably had something to do with his joining the army, volunteering for special forces. After she’d left for college he’d decided he didn’t want to stay at home either and had wanted to do something useful with his life. He’d joined up right after high school and been in ever since, though they sent him to college as well. I figured that put him around 23 or 24. We paid and left with our stuff while continuing to talk.

        He walked us to the bookstore and we parted there, saying goodbye, Riley going back to campus while we went in to get some moccas. She was a little quiet again as we sipped our coffees. I asked if she wanted to get a chuckle looking through the New Age section, which did get a half smile, but she said no, she just wanted to relax for a moment, be there with me. I grinned back at her and said I was glad she was here too. I guess it was her turn to have the noisy head.

        Afterwards we did look around the store for a while. She ended up spending most of her time in the Gay and Lesbian Affairs area and wound up with a small pile of books. I could tell by the wideness of her eyes, the slight rougey area along her jaw and the perspiration on her arm that she was nervous actually taking them up to the counter, but didn’t say anything. I did however put my hand on her arm and give it a squeeze. She looked back at me with an almost pleading, drowning look full of…apprehension I guess, maybe just nervousness. It reminded me of looking down from a high dive in gym and deciding whether to jump or not. I sort of rubbed the base of her back and took her hand for a moment and she gripped it back with a moist palm.

        Goddess, she makes me so proud. I know this can’t be easy for her, that it’s scary, and maybe sudden, such a big change to deal with amongst all the other things going on with her friends and Adam, the dangers of her Scooby life, parental pressures. I don’t know if I’d be able to handle all that together. She’s brave in so many ways, has the strongest, sweetest spirit of anyone I’ve ever known. How does she make me love her so much more with every new day?

        She paid, we left, and as we were walking back I caught sight of the big pet shop and found myself wondering if they had any kittens there? Or maybe at the pound? I’m beginning to think that I really should get one.

        As we walked she finally asked in that little voice she uses when she doesn’t want to upset me, but is too curious not to press forward, if or when I had told my family? I replied told them that I was gay and she nodded. I took in a big breath of air and then let it out slowly. I trust her and everything, and I know I should be open with her, but how do I tell her about my family? How do I tell her what I went through, the lectures, the punishments, Donny’s…attention? I don’t like to think about it much now myself. Would she think less of me if she knew the sort of people I came from?

        It’s like I was born again, Father would hate that phrasing, when I came here. Yeah, I miss Mother and Miss Whiskers, but they’re gone and I just don’t like to go there, reflect on my early life. Not in any depth at least, though I suppose that’s impossible. The past is always with us no matter how much we try and ignore it, put it out of mind.

        And then I don’t even want to think about the whole part evil demon thing. That’s the absolutely last thing I want her to know. They hunt demons, not love them, well, except Buffy and Angel, but that’s a special case, right? I mean, Anya’s an ex-demon, not a real one now, while I’m…I don’t know, I don’t want to think about it.

        Goddess, just let it pass over my generation! I suppose that’s too much to ask, but it would be so much better that way. I, I just can’t bear the thought of seeing that hurt look in her eyes again, maybe even revulsion and horror. That would kill me.

        I finally said softly that no, they didn’t know. As I’d told her before, they were pretty strict and kinda fundamentally religious. My father would get bent out of shape and probably try and send me to a convent or something even now. I definitely would have been in worse shape if they’d found out while I was in high school.

        She nodded and didn’t press the issue, her own thoughts leading her someplace else. She had a queasyish expression on her face and I told her again that at least my Mom had been supportive and hadn’t told anyone else when she found out. That her acceptance had really helped.

        She remained lost in thought and to try and change the subject, lighten her mood a bit, I asked if she wanted to try working on our telekinesis again tonight, or more with the conjuration?

        She thought about it, and said maybe conjuring something a little different like light. They were always fighting outside at night and often the vamps and baddies could see in the dark whereas they couldn’t. I thought that made sense and told her I knew of this little tinkerbell light spell that could be cool. It would give them something to see by, but not be so bright as to attract a lot of attention either. She thought that sounded good and was eager to give it a try.

        I almost had to laugh, magic, witchcraft, it seemed to be a tonic that chased away any bad mood she might be in. She was so eager to learn, to be useful for Buffy and the others. We talked about a few other spells we might try and her demeanor definitely seemed to lighten.

        As we got back to my dorm, we saw that a grounds keeping crew was out cleaning up some large branches and painting some black goup over a gash or two in one of the trees out front. I sort of raised an eyebrow towards it and she said she’d noticed yesterday morning that there’d been a storm and lightning must have hit the tree. A couple great big branches had come down, gouged up the lawn and left a couple nasty bare white spots on the tree. Hadn’t I noticed anything?

        I told her no, I must have slept through all the excitement, that would have been the night of the Lowell House party and I was pretty drained then. I didn’t add how upset I’d been over what had happened, but she cued in on that anyway and put her arm around my waist and said that I’d done really well, that Mr. Giles was impressed with my séance and that I’d helped save Buffy and Riley.

        As we entered and went up the steps, her arm no longer comfortably around me darn it, I said it had been nothing special, she or the watcher could have done the same, probably better.

        She stopped me in the lounge in front of the mailboxes and put both hands on my shoulders. She looked me in the eye and said it had been my idea, they hadn’t thought of it, and I’d done a better job than they could have. She said I was such an experienced and practiced witch it made her feel a little jealous. If I had any more useful ideas like that I should never be afraid to speak up. In fact she thought I should go to the next Scooby meeting, be part of the group more.

        I looked down at the top of my package, letting my hair cover my face, but her hand moved to my chin, lifting my head up so she could look into my eyes.

        I heard a scornful voice behind me say, ‘Aw, isn’t that sweet,’ while in front another group of guys came in. It looked like they’d been working on their cars; they had on jeans and old shirts covered with grease and oil stains. The wind gusted again harder than normal and one of the potted trees near the lobby teetered and toppled over. The last person in the gaggle coming in carried a bunch of rags and oil containers, didn’t see the branches on the floor and tripped sending everything flying and sliding across the lobby.

        The elevator opened and a couple came out hand in hand, each carrying bowling bags with shoes and balls inside. The first dodged the debris hurtling across the floor, but this over balanced the second and he went down, his bag flying in the air. It landed on one of the couches, bounced and came down squarely on the back of a full plastic container of oil. The top shot off and one of Mandy’s cohorts, who was still standing at the mouth of the opposite hallway in a nice short skirt and blouse, took a wave of oil across her front. She stood open mouthed for a second as the dark brown liquid dripped from her before shrieking and running back into the depths of the building towards the stairs.

        Our heads swung back towards each other and huge smiles crossed our faces before little snickers bubbled out and soon we couldn’t control ourselves. I know it’s wrong to laugh at the misfortune of others, but, just wow; that was so cool.

        She asked how much longer did I think it would take them to get the hint? I replied that they better not be too dense or they’d have nothing left to wear or not be fit to go out in public! She expressed her doubts, saying two were awfully blonde, in a bad not adorable witchey way, and it could take a while. I grinned at her compliment and she continued that Xander’d probably start a pool, so I laughed and said, how about three more days? She thought for a moment, obviously deciding whether to go shorter or longer and finally said, ‘Four!’

        I had to inquire what the winner got as I steered her past the mess on the floor towards the stairs, and we started up. Without thinking about it she exclaimed that the loser had to strip for the winner!

        That took me so by surprise that I blushed furiously and looked at her to see if she was serious. A healthy red flush tinged her cheeks as well, but having pronounced her terms, she stuck with them adding, ‘unless you’re chicken, that is.’ And half smiled and did that shoulder roll thing again.

        I could hardly believe we were having this conversation, but pointed out that I’d already, basically, stripped for her and that it wouldn’t be any big deal for me…tailing off to let that sink in, though I felt even warmer than before and had to shift my bag to wipe my palms off. She just laughed and said this time she’d be able to enjoy it, she wasn’t going to lose because she could see the future.

        As we went down the hallway, I asked her, oh great seer, what the future had in store and she just smiled and said she predicted a hot, warm, and moist front about to move in.

        We entered my room and as the door closed I said, so now she’s a weather reporter? I heard her bag hit the floor and her arms closed around my waist, her nose brushed my ear, her cheek slid my hair aside and her lips, oh so softly and moistly, kissed and nibbled at my ear. She whispered huskily that she was the investigative journalist and she had to fully explore her sources as her hands slid down up over my breasts, back down and into the top of my pants. I shuddered and leaned back into her, my knees feeling like they would buckle and my shirt suddenly too constricting.

        I moaned slightly and tossed the bag and box onto the bed before turning and taking her in my arms. Our lips found each other’s and we kissed long and deep, our tongues doing that soft, warm ballet that speeds up the heart and sometimes almost brings tears to my eyes.

        Goddess, it’s like I can’t get enough of her, don’t ever want to take my hands off her wonderfully sweet little body. I rubbed her back, her rear, pressed her into me and we kissed again. I wanted to devour her, she tasted vaguely of pancakes and syrup, but that isn’t what brought the longing surging forward within me.

        It was all of her, her smell, the warmth and sense of movement as her arms continued to enshroud me, her hands run through my hair, the taste of her saliva which didn’t seem gross at all. Even the slight tingle of our connection faintly flowing back and forth through us seemed to feed my desire. All of it made me want her more and more.

        Need gave me strength and I lifted her around and laid her down on the bed besides the purchases which got swept off onto the floor. I remained standing and while one hand staying behind her neck, the other moved down her front, rubbed her breast, excited the nipple which strained against the fabric, getting her to moan as well, before traveling down and brushing against her hip, her thigh and then twisting in between her legs. She opened them wider for me and I began rubbing her crotch, the jeans unable to conceal the growing heat and faint moisture forming there. She moaned again and her lips virtually flew across my face in a frenzied series of kisses and licks.

        The phone rang, the harsh, jarring metallic sound so out of place and unexpected, that I froze. I’m sure I had an expression on my face like I’d been caught stealing from church or something. I couldn’t think of anyone who’d call me, unless it was an emergency, and though I was terribly aroused, almost panting, my face flushed and hot, after the fourth ring I went and answered it.

        I had to say hello twice, the first time being barely audible, my voice so deep and faltering. It was Buffy on the line and she wanted to know if Willow was there. I said yes, and handed the phone towards her.

        She had gotten up and was straightening out her pants and shirt. A beautiful blush still coloring her cheeks and her hair was sort of mussed up. She took the phone while smoothing it into place and at least I had the satisfaction of hearing her voice crack as much as mine had.

        She licked her lips and tried again, listened, and an annoyed look grew on her face. She let out a sigh and said yeah, we’d been just going over some spells, nothing big and she’d give them a call. She hung up and then looked at me disappointedly. Her eyes seeming to apologize already.

        She related that her stupid parents had called and said that something unexpected came up tonight and wanted her to come over earlier, like as soon as possible. She looked annoyed, frustrated, a little curious and a lot resigned. She asked if I minded, but that she had to take off? How could I mind? Well, OK, to be truthful I was damn aroused; all I could think of was my hand between her legs and her body quivering beneath me. I certainly didn’t want her to go, but I also wasn’t going to make her choose between staying here or obeying her parent’s wishes. This sort of decision had already come up and I still couldn’t force that on her. If she stayed she’d feel guilty and troubled, like she was doing something wrong, and if I asked her to stay and she left anyway, we’d both feel bad. The best thing was for me to just nod, smile at her and brush her arms with my fingers, take her hands. I kissed both palms wetly, tasting the sweat in each and say that it was all right. I understood and it wasn’t my place to come between her and her parents. She should go, find out what the what was, assuming I got that right, do what she needed to. I’d still be here waiting for her when she got back, when she was done.

        She gave that look, said I was very sweet and that she hated to run out, but if they called and everything it was probably important and she’d try and make it up to me later.

        With that she gave me a quick kiss, cupped my chin for a second with a hand, gave me another quick peck and then rushed out, grabbing her bag on the way. The echoes of her footsteps down the hall and the door clicking shut reverberated in my mind while the desire continued to throb between my legs.

        I let out a sigh, went to my window and peeked out hoping to catch sight of her as she left the building. The big tree off to the side stretched into the uncaring azure blue with two streaks of black marring its trunk. Sure enough I could see her come running out the front, bound down the steps, her bag of books on homosexuality and lesbianism bouncing wildly. She went maybe about a hundred feet or so before she slowed and then stopped. She looked back over her shoulder right up at me as if she knew I was watching, which window was mine. I saw the sweetest, almost mournful, smile cross her lips as she saw me. I smiled back and then she turned and was gone from my field of vision, but not my mind or heart.

        I left the window and picked up the bag and took out the box with my new boom box in it. She’d left the CDs within, too, I’d have to remember to make sure she grabbed them later. I was going to take it out of the box and set it up, but I just couldn’t get the feel of her out of my mind. I took out my journal, but ended up just sitting there drawing little spirals and thinking about how much she’d been into it, how her cheeks had taken on a faint flush and her mouth stayed open just a little ways to gasp and let out those moans. I squirmed in the chair and finally just gave up, I couldn’t stand it, I needed the release. Goddess how I wished she was with me, that it was her lips on me, my head between her legs. I wanted nothing between us, keeping me from feeling all of her. I probably whimpered her name, definitely cursed her parents, though without any real rancor.

        I lie there and thought how much I loved her, how she’d looked back and smiled at me. We really are becoming so in tune, able to sense what the other is feeling, thinking. I wonder, is that a product of our magical connection or from love? Probably some of both, she just feels so much a part of me, as necessary as food, oxygen or sleep. I don’t know how long I lie there, I just wanted to keep her image, thoughts of my wonderful red haired witch in mind as long as possible.

        Eventually I got up, fully took off my things, put on a robe, grabbed fresh clothes and headed down for the showers. When I got back, I was at least a little more clearheaded. I set up the radio/CD player off to one side. I even took out my schoolwork and got some work done before updating my journal.

        It’s almost 6:00 now, where is she? I hope nothing bad happened, that she’s all right. Oddly, I think at this point if she did get hurt, was injured, that I’d know it, somehow feel it. Maybe that’s just fanciful thinking, the romantic in me, but sometimes our connection just seems so deep, like our souls are one or that we were always meant to be together. I mean, how improbable is it that we ended up here, in the same University and in a position to meet and fall in love? Me with my family to escape, the Gentlemen to force me out and into a situation where I could finally talk to her, something I’m realistic enough to realize I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. Her, staying in Sunnydale, not going to Stanford or some other college, Oz deserting her so that someone so amazing, caring and deserving of love was actually free, and then open to my interest. The Goddess hand had to have been present, it seems so unlikely as to defy sheer coincidence or probability.

        Oh, Mother, things really are going so good between us. I’m in love with her to smallest little atom or electron of my being. My body virtually sings when we touch, she is arousing, attractive, all, and more, than I could ever ask for. And I am starting to feel, almost believe, she feels the same way. I’ve never been happier.

TBC… (NMR is next, I swear, really!)

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 7:58 pm 
Another beautiful update. It is so sad W/T has to deal with such homophobia, but they handle things as well as they can. I am glad Mandy and her crew are getting what they deserve. Maybe they will learn their lesson one day. Thank goodness for Riley too. He is definitely one of the good guys.

I look forward to NMR.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.

Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

Willow: I found you. I will always find you.

Edited by: The Rose24  at: 5/3/04 8:09 pm

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 7:11 am 
Tara is pretty emotional and part of the point for doing this journal style is to show her emotions, as she thinks she feels them. There are probably too many details for anyone actually writing a journal, but I’ll put that off to artistic license. I’ve never actually done a journal of my own.

Going back to the details, I think you've captured it as if you have written a journal of your own. What I mean is that when writing in a journal, the writer wants to list/describe everything she sees, to make the experience more real/alive, as if she is reliving the events when she reads it. And I think that's what you've done, at least for me. Also, I love reading about Tara's questioning, not only of herself, but other things as well. Thanks for the update.:)


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 7:39 am 
:bounce :bounce NMR is nexxxxxxttttttttt :bounce Great update:peace

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 3:05 pm 
What.. Tara didn't have a basic cd-player yet, for shame :-) I liked Riley stepping as I agree with Tara about angry Willow likely would worsen the situation. I like protective Willow, but having Riley do it this time is easier :)

warning: worry-mode activated

That bad-luck spell still seems a bad idea to me. Sure, Mandy & co. will eventually figure out that Willow and Tara are responsible for it. That doesn't necessarily mean they'll meekly come to their room to ask for forgiveness. It's fairly easy reasoning; "the witches cause us bad luck" + "we don't want bad luck" = "we need the witches gone". I'm also wondering how good the memory of those homo-allergic girls is, grudges can come back to cause trouble after a loooong time. One time direct cause-effect would have been my choice, though it would be less easy for Willow and Tara to kid themselves into thinking they don't cause damage. It's not that I mind Mandy being sprayed with paint much, it's just no fun having to watch your back forever.

That's enough of me over-worrying things I guess :lol

What is so special about 'May Day' by the way ? It doesn't ring any bell with me, never mind a lesbian-sounding bell :) . Feel like I'm missing something obvious here... ???

The PFLAG idea sounds sympathetic, but it did make me think about the fact that such an organisation is appearantly needed. That's a rather sad thought.... For that matter I would expect less homo-bashing on a college/university. It's not as if Mandy & co. share a room with either Tara or Willow after all. What is it to them what people do on their own rooms ? Heck they should be happy to have less competition, one lesbian couple results in two women of the male-market ;-). Does make me wonder if gay-bashing is worse in the US, for some reason I expect less prejudice (hmmm... is it prejudice, if so of WHAT exactly?) in California, ah well. Maybe the Hellmouth attracts such obvious demons, heh.

End of overal anti-bashing rant... :lol

Did I mention that both Buffy and Willow's parent have horrible timing ? If not, consider it mentioned. What on earth do Willow's parent want to discuss with her, one would almost think they're making up for lost time with their only child. A bit late however.

I notice Tara not talking herself down so much anymore. She's still utterly amazed that a girl like Willow would find her likable/attractive but she'll just have to get used to that :) .

It's so fun to see Tara being happy. Esp. since we know where she comes from as far as thinking about herself and generally being unhappy that is.

P.S. Yes I'm aware that there are some spelling error in here, stupid spellchecker doesn't work once again. :smash

P.P.S. Sorry for reading this update as fast as usual Garner. I know it takes you long to write 'm, consider it a compliment as to how eager people read this story :)


"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine

Edited by: Grimlock72 at: 5/4/04 3:33 pm

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2004 1:04 am 
once again, excellent update.

i LOVE this story.

my present to myself for making it through the end of the semester is re-reading the whole story.

i'm SO looking forward to it.

and to NMR too.

i expect it will be quite heart-wrenching.

i always wondered about what Tara was doing and feeling while the rest of the ep was going on.

can't wait to read it.

Thanks for this bit! (this LARGE bit)


Forgive me now! Tomorrow I may no longer feel guilty...

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2004 10:56 pm 
Well it’s been a little while before I could respond. Which is not good news for getting anything done on NMR, but at least it IS started. Ah, real life is such a pain. :(

Rose24, I always thought that W/T should have faced some homophobia sometime during the show. Maybe it is just because I am in the center of the country and not on the coasts, but it seems like some would be inevitable, hopefully I haven’t gone too far overboard there. I also confess to liking Riley, mostly in season 4 or while doing military stuff. I hope this gives him a bit more color.

Onyxsundrops, I still love that screen name, glad you like the detail. It seems to flow pretty naturally, but I’ve never kept a journal myself. How long or detailed it would be is unknown. I think Tara is actually pretty curious and does question a lot of things. She doesn’t always get to act on it, and may not have as sharp a mind as Willow, but is no slouch on either.

Imjustme, YAY, finally NMR! Eventually that is! :) thanks for the encouragement.

Grimlock72, thanks for the detailed thoughts and consideration as always. No, I didn’t see Tara having a cd player. Maybe a clock radio, but that’s about it, for whatever reason. Willow was protective, but I wanted to have Riley present and though he didn’t solve the situation, he certainly defused something that Willow might have made worse with her protectiveness. As for the curse, well, my only comment is, would you really try and mess with someone who’s cursed you with bad luck once already? I mean they might do something even worse, is it really worse the risk? May day, well the maypole (what would a big tall pole symbolize, hmmmn) dance is traditionally a very sexually oriented celebration, may day is a celebration of fertility and sex, at least that is what Tara was implying. PFLAG is a great organization desperately needed in the Midwest where I live. I am certain there is probably a lot less homophobia on campus these days, and especially in California, but still…not having any seemed like too much of an artificial world. Comment, from what you said you aren’t in the US? Prejudice is in odd places from odd individuals. Things are certainly better now than in the late 70s when I was in high school, but I think we need to remember that there is still a long way to go to acceptance. It is very sad. Ah, what indeed did Willow’s parents want? That is for the first part of the next chapter. I also agree it is nice to see Tara happy, but then she’s got some really bad times coming up. It’s a wonder she made it through the season/year. No problem and the fast read, I’m just amazed at how quickly some of the kittens read. But then being a bit dyslexic I read sort of slow.

Raistarr, re-reading the whole thing? That sounds like fun, I hope the story works in one reading. One thing about writing something this long and spread over so much time is I wonder how coherent the whole is. I am honored you would feel it is a treat to read all of it after your schoolwork is done. Hope the finals and semester went well! Tara didn’t get a lot of air time in NMR when you come down to it. Really it is a Willow ep more than anything else. I just hope that I do justice to NMR.

Well, thanks to everyone who’s been keeping up with this and hasn’t commented, hope you all are enjoying it and not bored or disappointed yet. I won’t say anything about NMR other than that I have started and it is next. Till then,


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 4:28 pm 
I check for updates on this every day. I think I might be a tad obsessed. :blush

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 11:02 pm 
I know for a fact that I'm obsessed.More soon please.Take care,Karen

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:34 am 
count me in on the obsessed team. though i prefer the term "enthusiastically eager to participate" but ya know, same diff...


Forgive me now! Tomorrow I may no longer feel guilty...

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2004 9:39 pm 
Uh... wow? Wonderful update? Yes you leave me speechless in a good way, not a bad way. Really. Your work is fantastic and I really wish I could give you constructive feedback, but I can't think of anyway to improve what you have.

It's insulting to the whole gender[sic] of rap.


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2004 1:59 pm 
Hey all.

Thanks to the obssessed team for the anticipation. I am actually finally getting a little work done on the NMR chapter, but it is going to be a while. I am doing so much work on the Ghosts of Albion RPG, writing, editing, playtesting, that I find little room left for poor Willow and Tara. Very sad, I know. But I want NMR to feel write and my gaming mind and Fic mind are two different 'feels' and it is hard to switch between the two. BUT, just so you know I haven't given up, some progress is coming, but I wouldn't bother checking daily for updates. Look more near the end of July.

Tempest Duer, thanks for the vote of confidence on the latest update. I was perhaps a bit more worried about that one since it is non-ep stuff, and not filler, but is bridging the last ep and NMR. At least I hope it didn't feel like filler and had some interesting and important stuff going on in it.

Well, till later, thanks for sticking with me.


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 13B
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:23 am 
To start with, I'm not with the obsessed team, no sirra... hem... maybe just a little, all right.

Game testing, uh? I can relate with that. I'm the terror of game developpers ("I take the torch" "to enlighten the path?" "no, to hit him. How many hit points are that?" "uhm, as a stick maybe?" "no way! I'm gonna try setting him on fire on every blow, it can't be just as a frikking stick!" *sighs and takes a note: 'develop fire fighting'* *satisfied smile*)

Anyway, looking forward for THE update... (hey, if the first part of the update happens to be ready, we can stick with that, really...)



"I love slow, slow but deep, feigned affections wash over me" Dead Can Dance

Einstein was right.

 Post subject: NMR
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 6:36 pm 
It's been really a great ride, Garner, and when I started I was SO looking forward to NMR- so you gots to keep your fans happy... :-)

 Post subject: Re: NMR
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 3:18 pm 
Oh yes... we're STILL here PATIENTLY waiting for an update.... sure we are...:bigwave

You don't have to post a HUGE update all at once you know. Us kittens don't mind just one-post-updates :) Unless you tend to go back and edit a lot in the beginning of a chapter.

But anyway, just informing you of at least another reader over here who will wait patiently for MONTHS if nessecary. I can be verrrry patient if I want, but guess what....:lol

:buried cheer up, don't overwork/stress yourself though, can't have that :buried :buried

Grimmy :kgeek

"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine

 Post subject: Re: NMR
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 11:19 am 

Actually I do tend to go back and forth and edit a chapter a bit and sometimes have switched stuff around to make sure the continuity is clearer. I know a lot of kittens post shorter updates, but I do like to have complete chapters in one shot, more or less, just for my own continuities sake. I am working on it though. So thanks and continue to bear with me a bit. I am hoping to post at the latest before the middle of August.


 Post subject: NMR?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:43 pm 
Okley dokey, needing NMR real bad right now- so far this has been excellent, but it needs to finish the arc that starts at Hush and reaches it apogee with NMR- I hope I can implore you to add the next entry asap. Thanks!

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 14A NMR
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:36 pm 
Dana5140, well, I hope this is soon enough, it was about as fast as I could get it done.

To everyone waiting for this, here it finaly is, New Moon Rising. Keep in mind that I haven't written any NC-17 stuff before and this is my first, and likely last, attempt at it, in the last part of the chapter of course. I don't know if the wait was worth it or I've done justice to this pivotal chapter for Willow and Tara, but I hope you like it. I think there are maybe four more parts coming till the season is over. The next one might even be a tad sooner than the wait on this one, but no promises I can't keep.

I think this is in 6 parts or so.


Title: From the journal of Tara MaClay Pt. 14

Rating: NC – 17

Summary: The events during New Moon Rising in Season 4.

Note: Written April & July 2004. The entries are no longer consecutive days, some gaps may appear. Well, this is it, the big one, NMR, finally, no really, honest! It is one of my favorite episodes ever even with the obvious stupidity of Buffy jumping on Riley for naturally questioning Willow dating a werewolf and not knowing that some monsters aren’t, well, monsters. No really, they’re not! And of course Tara doesn’t get to see Willow’s coming out scene either, which is too bad, but then this episode as shown was a Willow episode and we got little of what Tara was really thinking or going through. But it has a happy ending, so that made everything better. They should have learned from that. Idiots.

                                NEW MOON RISING

Monday Evening: Oh Goddess, I’ve never been so frightened in my life. This is worse than the time Donny got that intense, angry, narrow eyed look and threatened to break my arm when we got home just because I’d embarrassed him in front of his friends. Far more terrifying than being stuck in the closet downstairs with that hideous demon pounding on the door. More horrible than any part of what happened in Lowell House. Worse than anything I ever experienced! Goddess, why did he have to come back? Why now? Please, please, please let it be only for a short visit before moving on again. Please.

        OK, I can be strong, like a warrior princess or an amazon; I won’t start crying. I will stay positive. She said I was cute, she said I was beautiful, she likes being with me, spending time, doing spells, and kissing, just lying together…that means something, right?

        But it’s Oz. Her first love, her first, only, lover. What if he decides he’s going to come back, stay here in Sunnydale, wants to renew their relationship continuing where they left off?

        Goddess, what chance do I have then?

        No, only positive thoughts.

        Why didn’t I get that kitten already? At least then I’d have something warm, soft and furry to hold. Something that might actually love me.

        Mother, what am I going to do?

        OK, I know, remember last night, remember how good it was. He’s probably just passing through and catching up with everyone, no big. She’ll call and we’ll go to the Bronze tonight and everything will be fine. Be positive. No reason for tears, stop sniffling.

        As I recall I was in a very good mood yesterday, it had been a glorious day shopping together and getting breakfast and everything. We even talked with Riley for awhile and all that. And I’d gotten a new boom box, it’d definitely been a good time, the slight incident in the parking lot notwithstanding.

        But she was late getting back. I didn’t realize how late till I looked up after finishing my Journal entry and noticed how hungry I was. Sunday evening meant the dorm cafeteria was closed, but the snack bar would be open. My stomach was really gurgling, but I didn’t want to leave in case she called or came back. I’d already finished my schoolwork, set up the CD/radio player; so I decided to listen to the disc of the band playing Monday that she’d bought. I figured she wouldn’t mind and I wanted to get an idea of what they were like, why she enjoyed them so much. I got my book of poetry out to read while listening. I’ve never been that big on just paying attention to music, I need something else to do at the same time. I grabbed the spellbook she’d gotten me too.

        The music was interesting, electronic, melodic, maybe something you could dance to in a more intimate sort of way, not at all the harsh sounds I would’ve expected. No thrash band here, though a few of the songs were a little more fast-paced.

        To be honest I wasn’t in the mood for poetry and the spellbook sitting nearby kept on beckoning to me so I ended up opening it up and not paying as much attention to the album as I should have. I made better progress this time, on the spells at least, and it seemed like there were some various cures to common illnesses, warts, boils, canker sores, that sort of thing along with ways to make fields produce more, for the cow’s milk to be sweeter. Yet it seemed like this was just the beginning part of the book, like there was a deeper, secret wisdom further in that was laying ahead for anyone who could figure it out. I was going to need her help with this, the formulas almost seemed to have a mathematical rhythm to them, but exactly what I couldn’t say. She’s better at that sort of thing and maybe together we’d figure it out.

        A lot of witches hid their more important spells in code so that others couldn’t steal them or use them against them. I have to smile, that’s almost a Willow babble ending. I love the way she repeats words like that sometimes. She can be so cute and kinda naïve, her face all open and seemingly innocent, her eyes wide and wondering; curious about everything, anything; so sweet. Goddess, don’t take that from me. Don’t deprive me of my Willow, I don’t know if I could bear it.

No, I can’t let myself think like that. I have to stay positive, things will work out, good things can happen to me.

So the spells might contain a code to protect their secrets, and of course there was the Inquisition to keep in mind, too. It seems like Golina had a run in with them in her home village, some sort of altercation involving a rival, perhaps over the love of some farmer or other local boy? I still don’t know exactly why she left.

        By this point the CD was done and it was just after 8:00, my hunger returned and I was getting worried again about what was keeping her. Maybe her parents had decided to have a family dinner? That was possible and it still wasn’t all that late, so I was more in a quandary over whether to get some food myself or not. I did have the answering machine so I wouldn’t miss any messages at least.

        But what if she hadn’t eaten yet? Maybe they had an early dinner and when she got here she’d want to go get something? I debated with myself for a few more minutes before deciding I’d leave a note and go downstairs, get a salad and some water, if she was hungry I’d get desert, if not, well, maybe I’d get a couple little slices of pie for later. That’d work.

        I wrote out a quick little note, taped it to the door and hurried to the snack bar. There wasn’t a line so I got my stuff quickly and nearly ran all the way back to my room. No Willow, no message, so I glumly sat at my desk and picked at my salad with the radio on, though I wasn’t paying much attention to the songs.

        About five minutes later I finally heard her knock. I switched off the music and opened the door for her, she was pacing back and forth in front of the entrance and I remember thinking, ‘uh-oh, this can’t be good.’ I also looked to see if Mandy or the others were in evidence, but no.

        She came in and her jaw was working back and forth like she was grinding her teeth, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do that before. OK, now I was even more concerned and wondered what’d happened to agitate her so much. It had to be her parents, only family can get you so worked up without making you totally pissed off. She looked the picture of annoyed and exasperated.

        I gave her arm a brief caress, smiled and got a rather forceful peck on the cheek back with a very momentary half smile. Yeah, family.

        I told her I was just finishing a little salad, but if she was hungry we could go get something, or she could have what was left. She just shook her head and I also offered her some water and she took me up on that. I got the little bottle out for her and she twisted off the cap and drank almost half in one shot while I sat back down. I figured she’d tell me what was up when she was ready.

        A moment later she just grunted and launched in without preamble that her parents, probably her mother though she wouldn’t put it past her father to have made the actual suggestion, had gone ahead and set her up after all and here she’d just joked about it but no, they have to ambush her with the only family dinner party she’d been involved in for ages, which should have warned her that something was up and that they just wouldn’t let things rest and you’d think after years of neglect, or at least nothing more than feigned interest, that this would continue and who’d have thought she’d miss that status quo now, but she sure did and she hadn’t been so embarrassed in ages and it was such a waste of time and…and she finally took a breath and stopped wearing a hole in my rug and flopped down on the bed looking up at the ceiling summing up the whole situation by declaring, ‘parents!’

        I was actually chuckling behind my fork while trying to chew the leafy greenness and cool ranch dressing, but tried not to let her see my amusement. I sort of shook my head, there was no doubt that I loved this girl so much, had discovered and adored so many different things about her, but I’d never really gotten that level of Willow-babble-rant before. Especially not one quite so incoherent, it was like her mind was moving ten times faster than her mouth and she could barely get everything out. I sort of sighed and smiled and washed the last bits down while she continued to lie there and fumed letting out little puffs of annoyed air.

        I walked over to the bed and told her to roll over and get all the way on. She complied though she looked back over her shoulder at me questioningly. I smiled and began rubbing her shoulders, the little knot in the back of her neck, the base of her skull. She sank back down and murmured her approval in a soft, ‘ahhh, that feels nice.’

        After a few moments I told her to tell me what happened, only slower and more clearly or she’d get an aneurism, or at least my ears would start to bleed from the sheer avalanche of words. That made her giggle a little and I couldn’t help kneading her butt a couple times. I mean it was sticking up there all nice and pleasant, which got me a ‘hey,’ and another ‘ahhh.’

        I went back to her shoulders and she asked if I remembered how she’d mentioned one of her mother’s colleagues had a son who went to Stanford for physics? I did and she continued saying that their names were the Silvertons, and that they’d been at her parents when she arrived. Their son, Todd, was also present and the whole thing had been one big colossal setup!

        They’d all sat and talked for a bit, her parents excitedly saying how they’d been so impressed with Stanford, how well she’d done in high school and on her tests and all that. Even the muscles in her back hardened as she related all this and I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic. I gave her those. ‘Oh, poor sweety,’ sort of things one says while at the same time trying to ease her tension with my fingers.

        I thought I was succeeding and was definitely enjoying the feel of her underneath my hands, the sensation of her soft skin gliding beneath her shirt as I rubbed her back. I wanted to bend down and start kissing her cheek, nuzzle to soft area below her ear, nibble on her cute little lobes. But I resisted. She was too worked up for any of that, anyhow.

        So I kept up my massage and she went on to say how her parents had practically flung her at Todd and sat her next to him during the early cook out which also should have raised questions in her mind, who ate at 3:00 on a regular Sunday anyway?

        Her temple started throbbing again and she flipped over suddenly and sat up, unable to stay still as she said how after an hour both sets of parents suddenly claimed that they had a paper to work on for a magazine article and had just been discussing some new additions they wanted to make to it. They would need to head to one of their offices before they lost their chain of thought. However, they suggested that the two of them should take the tickets they had to the evening symphony and have a good time and maybe catch a late dinner afterwards, and then exited so fast it should have left all the little knick knacks spinning.

        So there they were with the tickets and an empty house and he didn’t even have the good graces to be totally embarrassed and ready to call the whole thing off. Instead he had just sort of shrugged and said it would be a shame to let the tickets go to waste after their parents had engineered things so well. He did sort of lamely add that all this wasn’t his idea, but that they really ought to just make the best of it.

        She hadn’t wanted to go, or to call and let me know what was going on but the concert started in like fifteen or twenty minutes, and he had sort of hustled her out to the car and off they’d gone. And here she felt bad because she said she should’ve just been firm and declined, walked away and come back to campus, but she knew her parents would give her even more grief if she did that.

I wonder if she realizes that as much as they exasperate or disappoint her, she still seems to want their approval? I’m pretty sure that’s partially why the thought of refusing to go along never really entered her head. Now if Buffy or the other Scoobies had really needed her, she wouldn’t have even bothered to have gone home in the first place. I wonder if that should make me more nervous? If it had been Oz who was waiting for her would she have cut out anyway? No, it’s not wise to go there, she did what she thought she had to at the time. Still, I can’t help but wondering now that he’s back in town.

        She did admit the symphony wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t exactly her kind of music and she probably would have enjoyed it more if she weren’t so steamed. As I’ve noted before, I think her parents know her better than she understands. Should that worry me too? Does it mean that they know what I can’t see, that she’ll always be interested in guys and that I’m just a chance fluke that came up at a time when she was particularly vulnerable, devastated by Oz’s departure, missing her friends and clinging to anything, anyone, that seemed interested in her? Will his return end this now, abruptly; a stillborn experience that might have just been an experiment anyway?

Can that be true? Goddess I hope not. I don’t think she’s one to go through phases like that; I’ve seen too much of her, who she really is. And she’d never toy with someone, lead them on just so she could amuse or distract herself, it’s not in her.

        But it’s Oz, he’s not Todd, he’s her first and I know there will always be a part of her that is only his. That they have a bond from High School that I’ll never come close to. What if he has come back for good, to stay and repair the pieces of their broken relationship? How could she not choose him over me?

        Would she still let me be in her life after that? Would he? Could I be just her friend and nothing more?

        Goddess, I’m going to end up slamming my head into the wall at this rate. I’ve got to think positive, be optimistic, it’s the only chance I have.

        After the symphony he revealed that their parents had actually made reservations at one of the nearby restaurants, I think that fancy place all the faculty go to, Elmer’s or something like that. Again she’d felt obligated to go, but said she’d probably been a less than stellar dinner companion.

        It turned out not to matter that she was still irritated by her parents and not very talkative as he’d spent most of the time going on about his own research, how important his contribution was to the team he was on, getting into the details of the project they were working on. She laughed a little bit here, but it was more dismissive and kinda bitter saying that under other circumstances she might even have been interested and the ironic thing is that it probably was a cool project and something she normally would’ve been excited about. She said that she must have made some appropriate comments as he stated that she seemed like an intelligent girl and that it was a shame that she was stuck at UC Sunnydale when he was sure his parents could help get her into Stanford. She might even be able to work on the same project too.

        They’d finally finished and she suggested they cut things short and head back, which, she reflected, must have been a bad signal or something cuz when they got back the house was dark and before she could get out of the car his arms were suddenly around her and his lips pressed to hers.

        She let out a disgusted rush of air and got up and started pacing on the rug where we’d practiced spells, her hands clenched and that angry look on her face. She said she’d been entirely shocked and surprised, which also pissed her off since it’s not like she hasn’t fought vamps and demons and been more aware of what was going on, dealt with ambushes or surprise attacks, but this was different and so unexpected and his hands had started roaming. She managed to push herself away and almost rolled out of the car yelling at him to back off, that she was seeing someone, and you don’t just jump people in the car after a stupid date set up by your stupid parents!

        I wanted to go to her, take her in my arms and try and calm her, let her know it was all right, but wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do. She was definitely angry now, and probably more with herself than Todd, who she said apologized and kind of explained that her parents had said she wasn’t currently attached since that musician fellow dropped out like they’d expected he would and he thought that’s why she wanted to come back early.

        She irately told him Oz hadn’t dropped out but was dealing with some personal issues and that she had found someone else so he should just put a reign on things right there. She said he apologized again and stated that if he’d known she had a boyfriend he would never have done anything, that her parents really did just want her to be happy and she should tell them more about what’s going on in her life.

        Of course she said that made her feel guilty and even more uncomfortable cuz he was probably right, though she bitterly added, ‘at least for now,’ and I got the sense they’d shown spurts of poorly timed interest before only to slip back into their usual oblivious ways.

        I know what she’s gone through has probably hurt her, contributed or shaped who she is in negative ways, but Goddess, I just wish my family had been so…disinterested. What would my life be like now if Father hadn’t always been so controlling, lecturing on the dangers of my demon heritage, the evil of magic and how God shunned those who used the occult. Mother did her best to teach me that that wasn’t necessarily the case, but what if she hadn’t taught me the craft? Did that make me as afraid to get close to others as the fear of my own demonic nature?

        Would I have had friends in school? Other girls who came over and rode horses with me, played doll or whatever? Would I still be gay? Maybe I would have dated in high school, not been such a wallflower, not felt like I didn’t belong anywhere due to my strange interests, not left to pray that someone like Willow would actually notice me, could maybe fall in love with me, though now even that hope seems vain.

        Would that really have ended any better? Would I have been stuck back home in an even worse situation? Maybe I’d have hooked up with one of Donny’s friends, gotten married, pregnant and found myself running a house with no life of my own? I probably wouldn’t have come here, that’s for sure. Would that have been better or worse? Would I have grown older, maybe lost interest in my husband; had a vaguely dissatisfied feeling and noticed the other women around town with a longing that I’d never fully comprehend or act on? Would my family become a prison stifling who I really was?

        Sometimes I wish I could peek into an alternate dimension just to see how things might’ve turned out, though I know that’s dangerous and wrong. That’s the sort of use of magic that ends up badly more often than not. Besides, what if it was better, what would I do then? It’s just like being tempted to read my own future, see what is in store for Willow and me. I could do that, but what if I see nothing but darkness and heartache? What would I do then? Continue on and create a self-fulfilling prophecy or make it worse by trying to change things for the better? I don’t believe the future is pre-ordained, but what if knowing the possible future makes it more likely? Could I stand that?

        And what if I saw that she ends up with Oz? How could I go on then, knowing that anything I did was likely to have no effect? Then what would I do to change the outcome? What can I do now? Oh, Mother, what am I going to do? I’m so afraid that things are spinning away from me; that she’s being drawn away after we’d just started to get so close. This really is the Hellmouth isn’t it? I’ve gotten a glimpse of what Eden or heaven could be like and now it might be torn from me. I’m just so scared and I have no idea what to do. All I see in my mind is Willow going back to Oz, leaving me behind.

        OK, I feel better now; I made it to the bathroom just in time. My stomach can’t take all this worrying and indecision, the nettlesome anguish, the ups and downs of hope and despair. If I’m not careful I’ll become some strange neurotic New Yorker-type fit only for a bizarre sitcom on TV. I’ve got to focus on the good things that have happened between us, keep a positive energy around me which will attract more positive energy to me. That’s what Mother always used to say. I can be strong even though I haven’t heard from her since this afternoon.

        It’s still amazing how quickly things can change. Last night even with her upset mood and exasperation with her parents things were still so good. Her cheeks had a beautiful rosy color that really complimented her hair, made her look so gorgeous, not that she doesn’t anyway, but she seemed like such a vision. I can remember sitting there as she paced and vented some of her anger and thinking that I’d never seen anything so beautiful, someone so angelic in the way her hair laid on her forehead, how her little nose flared every now and then with outrage. I could imagine the tension still flowing through her, having already felt it just a little earlier, and wanted so desperately to be able to take her in my arms, hold her, slowly strip her and ease all that suffering. Caress her body with my lips, my hand, my tongue; provide the distraction and pleasure she needed to be her normal upbeat self again.

        But she was too restless for any of that, and though I know she would have jumped at the chance to cast some spells, I didn’t think that was a good idea given the agitated state of her mind. The book she’d gotten me still beckoned, but I rejected that notion, too. Instead I suggested that we take a walk, maybe visit the woods and look for a good Beltane ceremony spot. With Riley, the Initiative, and Buffy all out there things should be safe enough, and besides, we’d be together and when she’s with me there’s no vampire or demon that frightens me. Her presence always emboldens me, makes me feel safe.

continued immediately below...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 14B
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:39 pm 
From the Journal...Part 14B

        She liked the idea of a walk and so we grabbed our sweaters and left the dorm. It was a cloudy overcast night though the air didn’t smell of rain and there was a cool breeze coming in from the Ocean. At first we didn’t hold hands or anything and she moved at a brisker than normal pace. It was chilly enough that it didn’t bother me, and we talked about parents in general. I…I actually told her a little bit about Father, how strict and set in his ways he was, how Donny could do no wrong in his eyes while I was always at fault, though of course I didn’t say why. She told me more about the time her mother tried to burn her at the stake, how they’d disapproved of Oz almost as soon as they met him. He’d only been asked over for dinner once and after that he’d become ‘that dreadful musician boy.’

        She laughed a little bittersweetly as she recalled how shortly after he’d left she made the mistake of telling her mom, hoping that maybe she’d commiserate with her, no one else seemed to care that much and she’d been hurting and instead all she got was a “Well thank god that’s over,” and that was it. She even did a funny nasal voice pretending to sound like her mom, which was pretty amusing and made me laugh, which got her laughing for real, too. Goddess, it was so good to hear her laughter, so pure and full of amusement.

        We were in the forest by then, her face was a white halo under a dark aurora and I moved closer and put my arms around her. She sort of sighed and snuggled closer, leaned her cheek against my chest and clung to me tightly. I stroked her hair softly and we didn’t say anything. After a little while I lifted her chin with my hand and it must have been a trick of what light there was as her eyes seemed a little watery. My mouth covered hers and our tongues caressed softly. Our lips finally broke apart and her head settled on my shoulder and I ran my hands down her back gently.

        Something snapped nearby and we both almost jumped into the nearest tree. It’s funny how we both spun about looking outwards, sort of angled from each other but our hands were clasped and I could feel that flow of energy pour from her and to her like when we cast spells. It’s as if instinctively we knew exactly what to do, though our hearts were racing and our eyes were probably wide open. Even the darkness around us seemed somehow lighter.

        After a few moments we noticed several figures passing by just at the edge of our sight through the trees and brush, maybe fifty feet away. We ducked down without moving and watched as one of the Initiative patrols went by and wondered if Riley was leading it or someone else. We only glimpsed three of them but they moved fluidly, with confidence and constantly scanned the area around them, weapons at the ready.

        We waited till they past and then wandered deeper into the woods and I said it was a good thing they didn’t see us, I’d hate to be zapped by one of those taser things. She squeezed my hand and said she didn’t need that to feel all tingley with me there. I smiled though I doubt she could see it and squeezed back.

        We did end up finding another nice clearing that was in a small depression and surrounded by some big, thick oak trees that we thought would be perfect. We both admired the site, but I don’t think either of us felt quite comfortable enough to make out there. She was still a little keyed up and I kept getting this image of the commando guys hearing us and zapping us in the middle of the woods. How embarrassing would that have been?

        Instead we decided to gather some herbs, anything useful that we could find since it was just before a full moon. We had fun sort of sneaking about and digging up a few plants here or there. We didn’t have much to keep them in so we ended up with dirty sweater pockets, which meant laundry duty tomorrow. I don’t think Mother ever told Father all the times that happened back home.

        After awhile it was getting much later and we sort of wandered back towards campus. I told her about how far I’d gotten in the French spellbook and how cool the stuff was in there. It seemed like the spells were more powerful for some reason, maybe the incantations just a bit stronger in the spirits they called on, or maybe the materials being used more extensive. She admitted to having thought about it some herself, and wandered what was in there and couldn’t wait to give a few of them a try. We ended up comparing a bunch of the spells we knew and had cast and how they could be more effective, by the time we got back we were both really thirsty, exhausted and our legs a little sore. I don’t think I’ve done that much walking in a long time.

        It was late as we entered my room, and she suddenly remembered that she’d talked with Buffy briefly before coming here and that there was a Scooby meeting the next afternoon. She wanted me to come with, since it was an official meeting that Mr. Giles had called and she thought it would be a good idea for me to be there, contribute and everything.

        I could see the pride in her eyes and that look as she told me and I have to admit it was a great feeling, knowing she wanted me there, that she thought I could help them out somehow. No one’s ever had that kind of confidence in me before, or wanted to make me part of their group of friends like that. Still, I also felt some trepidation at the idea as well. I mean, they’ve been doing this for so long, are such a tight knit group. I just hate the idea of intruding where I’m not wanted, and there’s been so few places I was really wanted.

        I must have looked down at my feet, did the hair ducking thing because she placed a hand on my arm, one on my shoulder and I looked up into her face, her eyes wide and shining, a small smile on her lips and that look still present. She said that it was OK, no one would mind that I was there. In fact, after how I’d helped with the Lowell house phantoms they’d all been really impressed with me, or at least Mr. Giles had. She said I was practically part of the group already.

        I smiled back and I kinda mumbled that I just didn’t want to intrude, be all Miss. Buttinski, and that got a little chuckle out of her. She closed the distance between us and wrapped her arms around me, and said they’d have to get used to my being around, cuz she hoped it was something that was going to happen a lot.

        Goddess, it’s amazing how she knows just what to say to make me feel better. She’s so thoughtful and sweet, how could I not love her?

        We shared a long, slow kiss and remained embraced for a little while before I giggled and said our poor plants were getting scrunched. She gave a slight laugh too, noting that we couldn’t let all that walking and work go to waste, and we broke to put our collected materials away.

        Afterwards we went down to the bathroom and cleaned up before getting ready for bed. I felt very sleepy and worn out after all the activities of the day, going shopping, listening to her vent, walking in the forest; it had been a very busy time all told. I’d had thoughts of putting on the CD so we could sort of listen to it while we lay together before actually drifting off to sleep, but by the time we were both back and getting set I was yawning and my limbs felt like the proverbial lead. Her matching shuffling and signs of tiredness convinced me that maybe it’d be better if we skipped it.

        Instead we just slid into bed and I had another of those sudden realizations, how lucky I was, how fantastic it was that she was here, climbing into bed with me. It made me smile and instead of laying on her back, she sort of rolled over on her side facing the other way. For some reason I could sense that she wanted, needed, to be held. It was like she was still annoyed with her parents and simply needed a reminder that someone valued her, wanted her, for who she was. So I spooned up behind her and put my arm firmly around her. She snuggled back into me and the feel and scent of her hair was very strong. Her fingers lightly danced along my arm, soft little pads sending almost electrical jolts through my skin. I breathed in her aroma and kissed her neck ever so softly a couple of times. She faintly murmured her approval but her movements slowed down. I could sort of feel myself sinking into sleep as well, and though I wanted to tell her I loved her, kiss her cheek once more before my eyes closed for the night, everything felt so peaceful and perfect, I just couldn’t quite summon up the energy. I fell asleep much quicker than I would’ve expected, completely content with her wrapped in my arms.

        I think back on it now, and it seems like maybe a little prophetic dreaming must have passed to me as well. Or maybe it’s just that she’d mentioned Oz so much that day. In any case from what I recall it does seem like the Goddess was trying to warn me of what was to come.

        I remember that she and I were moving through the woods, we walked hand in hand and occasionally smiled at each other. It was evening and the sun was setting and though we were under the trees’ protective branches, we could see the signs of a beautiful sunset. A little black and white kitten trailed along behind us, and it felt very natural to have it there, made us feel safer.

        We grew weary and found a little indentation by a small stream that looked so inviting that we laid down on the leaves, and as we curled up I noticed that each of us had four paws and a tail. She was a beautiful, lithe, little short haired tabby with orangish fur and a little white splotch on her chin. Her tail moved quickly and her eyes seemed to dart about as we lay there and after a moment we started grooming each other. The sensation of licking her fur sent shivers through me and I could feel the longing and desire build deep within me. I purred deeply at the rubbing from her tongue. I had longer fur than her and she seemed to take keen interest in washing and pulling at it.

        After a little while we settled together in a tight ball and the little kitten came and sat atop us. The next thing I knew it was dark and a big wild looking dog was circling us. I felt very afraid, like it wanted to tear us apart, yet she didn’t wake or move at all.

        The canine moved about our little area, stalking and sniffing every so often, but the little kitten arched its back and with a big puffy tail hissed and screeched at the brute. It moved closer once and a black paw flashed almost too quick to see and the dog leapt back with a yelp. The kitten jumped towards it and the two disappeared into the brush and darkness. I remember being faintly amused at the sight of such a little thing chasing off the bigger animal.

        She finally woke at this point and looked at me, blinking a couple of times, before settling her head back on my paws. I put my chin on the top of her head and though I thought I saw lightning in the distance and heard a distant rumble, fell comfortably asleep.

        The alarm woke us up too soon, but we both had morning classes and then one in the afternoon before the Scooby meeting at Mr. Giles’ place. We got ready quickly and parted with a short kiss and promise to meet at the Student Union so we could head over together.

        Goddess, I remember being so thrilled, excited and happy. She was going to take me to an official Scooby meeting! I might finally actually have a group that I belonged with, that I would feel comfortable around and maybe not even like an outsider.

        I wore my jeans and a sort of purple top with white doughnut-like circles on it. I always liked that shirt, the designs reminded me of ancient stones with worn runic symbols on them. I wanted to have my hair up, I knew she liked it that way, but we just didn’t have time for that. She had to head back to her room to change since last night’s clothes had dirt on them, though I offered to wash her stuff with mine later.

My classes, even lunch, seemed to drag and drag, it was like each lasted forever and the time till I saw her again would never come. I…I spent more time than I should have during class wondering what it was she was going to wear? Would it be jeans or a skirt? A sweater or jacket? It was still sort of chilly in the morning and I was so excited when we left that I foolishly didn’t grab anything else but my thin T-shirt though it did have sort of long sleeves. Mother would’ve been furious, but just the thought of her taking me along made everything else seem so less important.

        Ah, Goddess, what a fool I am. I should have known better, realized that things were going too well. The women in our family are cursed with a demonic heritage, an evil that obviously corrupts our dreams and hopes. Is there any pain worse than being shown a bit of what you’ll never have?

        It’s just that things were going so well. I got to the Union well before her and sort of anxiously hung about, waiting to get my first sight of her. I finally saw her and she had on a narrow pale yellow dress that was very cheery, an orange top and her light blue sweater with the flower on it. She looked so good. As I watched her coming over to me I recall wondering how such an angelic person could ever have become so much a part of my life? A wave of sexual longing blazed through me as she came up, her hair shown brightly in the afternoon light, her narrows hips and body seemed so inviting, so Willowy. It made me want to suggest we just go back to my room and undress each other and spend the rest of the day satisfying that fire.

        I wish I’d had the courage to have said that. Maybe she would’ve even taken me up on it. Maybe we wouldn’t have been there when Oz showed up; she wouldn’t be with him now instead of taking me to the Bronze like we’d planned. I look over at the clock and see how late it is and I know she’s not going to make that. She’ll be with him, completely forgetting about our date.

        Who am I kidding? She wouldn’t have agreed, Scooby stuff is too important to her to miss and things don’t happen like that for me. And I can’t blame her for wanting to spend time with him now that he’s back. I mean, she hasn’t seen him for what, almost six months? How could I stand in the way of their reunion when they have so much history together, when he was so important to her? Any date or plans we’d made aren’t anywhere near as important. I may be disappointed, but I really do understand. I just hope they aren’t picking up where they left off.

        But she’d been pretty excited when she was with me this afternoon and as we head towards the meeting. We talked about the band for a while as we walked from campus, though I was kind of distracted. The image of the kitten remained in my mind and I just had to find out if she liked them or not. I’d hate to just get one and find out she was allergic or something. Eventually, as we were passing through one of the little parks, and the sun shone shadows as it lowered in the sky I asked her if she liked cats and she replied she was more of a dog person but didn’t hate felines.

        I wonder, was that another sign? Does that mean that she holds Oz higher in her mind than me? Silly, there’s no question of that. He was her first, what am I?

        She inquired why I brought it up, and I said I was thinking about getting a cat, and she questioned whether you could have one in the dorms? I had to say, no, but that this would be a sneaky cat that wouldn’t get caught. She seemed to think that would be cool, that maybe it would be like a familiar but I hesitantly said it would be more like a pet.

        She seemed pretty cool with it so far so I suggested we could even name her something like Trixie, or Miss Kitty Fantastico or whatever. I’m not really good with ideas for names. But she grew more eager and had a wonderful smile on her face and asked if we could make kitty go bonkers, her sweet words, with string or catnip.

        It was so cool to see her excited and getting into the idea, I couldn’t help a little bounce and an enthusiastic ‘Absolutely.’ Goddess, she seemed so much happier and without any concerns about her parents, I remember wishing the moment could just keep on going. Or is that hindsight coloring my memory?

        She thought it was a great idea and I had to make sure she wasn’t allergic or anything, I definitely want my room to be Willow-friendly, said such. I couldn’t stand it if I did something to drive her off.

But I didn’t have to worry as she indicated she wasn’t and bless her, she even emphasized she wanted my room to be Willow-friendly too and took my hand in hers then. Oh Mother, every time she does that she gives me such a thrill, makes me feel so good. And it’s more than just the wonderful feel of her hand in mine, though her fingers are so thin and soft and the electrical tingle they send through me is almost indescribable. It goes beyond that, it’s like some filament deep within me suddenly goes all red hot and I have to look down or away or just burst into tears from the joy of having her there beside me. It almost feels like she really wants me, like I am hers. Ah, I’m not getting it right, maybe that’s how I know I love her so much, no words can really express how amazing she is, or how she makes me feel.

To sort of cover my awkwardness I blurted that I was excited about the Scooby meeting and then rushed to add ‘I think’ so she wouldn’t believe I was a total dork, though it’s probably way too late for that. I wondered what it was about and she responded that she didn’t know; it was probably just your garden-variety disaster.

That gave me pause for a moment and I asked if things like that happened a lot. She said that if by a lot I meant all the time, nearly every day with special apocalypses on birthdays than most definitely. For once I couldn’t tell whether she was joking or not and stuttered “a-a-apocalypses?” not sure if she truly meant end-of-the-world apocalypse.

But she answered that yeah, they’d dealt with the end of the world a few times, the most recent was just after I’d met her because of the Gentlemen. Again I squeaked “most recent?” She must have thought I was some weird parrot repeating the last things she said. She sort of gave me that wistful half smile of hers and said yeah, but overall things had been kinda slow in the world destruction department since then. Mostly they were just dealing with Adam and the Initiative right now.

I mentioned that I thought the Initiative were good guys, and she gave me that sort of annoyed or perturbed pinched look indicating that the jury was still out on them, and explained she didn’t entirely trust them and they were meddling in areas that maybe they shouldn’t, though she did hastily add that she thought Riley was all right.

I barely had time to digest all that before we were at Mr. Giles’ apartment and heading in without a knock. It sometimes takes me aback how familiar they are with each other. It was foolish of me to think that I could ever fit into or be accepted by such a group.

Buffy was already there wearing a sensible, long sleeve blue turtle neck, though she also had a nice brown leather coat, too, which lay on chair by the main table. She was talking with Giles about something, but they stopped and greeted us distractedly before returning to some discussion about Adam’s purpose and where he might be hiding. They couldn’t decide if he was in the caves or the tunnels underneath Sunnydale. I guess both were too extensive to easily search and the creature could easily avoid Buffy if he desired. It seemed obvious to me that they just needed more manpower and if the Initiative helped they could maybe pen him in or at least flush him into the open.

However, Buffy and Giles both demurred, saying that Initiative was too untrustworthy and not to be counted on for active assistance. They’d created Adam after all, and might still have a hidden agenda for him, especially if they could recapture the monster.

I hadn’t really considered that and just sort of said, ‘oh.’ She moved her hand towards me as if to say it wasn’t that bad of a suggestion but Xander and Anya entered then and her hand hovered a moment before returning to her lap.

Buffy quickly brought the other two up to speed on what was going on, thankfully leaving out my stupid suggestion, and by then Riley had arrived as well.

Willow and I sat on a couple of bar stool chairs in front of the nook that opened into Mr.Giles kitchen while Xander and Anya sat together on a small trunk seat next to the actual kitchen entrance. She was between us, but I could catch glimpses of them whenever I looked over at her. I remember being just a little faintly jealous that Anya could sit on his lap with her arm around his shoulder and yet Willow couldn’t even put her hand on my arm. It was just another little reminder of the distance that still separated us, whether by choice, inclination, or just societal pressure didn’t matter, the result was that we sat like two columns on a porch, connected yet physically apart.

Buffy perched opposite us on a solid dining room table while both Mr. Giles and Riley roamed a bit. The former getting occasional glasses of water or some pretzels from the kitchen while the commando just seemed coiled and kinda tense, like the movement was a necessary relief.

Mr. Giles ran down all that they knew about Adam, his activities dissecting various demons and humans, his lack of direct confrontation in some time, and his unknown goals. Riley thought that the Initiative was as concerned about him as we were, but that despite that there didn’t seem to be any plans to destroy him, specifically, either. Their standard use of the tasers meant that if a squad did encounter him a capture attempt was likely and he had no idea what would be done with him at that point. Buffy and Mr. Giles postulated some sort of reprogramming was likely, and would leave him still potentially very dangerous.

Willow added, as an aside for me, that he had already suborned his programming once and killed Professor Walsh so there was no telling how effective any new instructions might be.

It was actually pretty cute how she was so attentive to what was being said, and then making little comments to me, trying to fill in some back-story or clarify things. The discussion turned to other activities, Mr. Giles questioning if there were any further instances of demons and vampires working together or anything like that.

Buffy responded that there was zippo, here patrols had been totally uneventful and her, what did she say: ‘Kill count,’ was way down? Willow told me that that meant there was less bad guy activity, which made sense to me. Mr. Giles, who was refilling the snack bowl in the kitchen, added ominously that they knew what that indicated.

Xander quipped something like if Buffy didn’t make her quota, she was a bad Slayer, but Mr. Giles wished it was something that innocuous, and that the situation probably was due to Adam in some way.

She leaned towards me and said that when it was slow that was usually because there was some extra evil brewing. However, Riley interjected that at the Initiative they were very busy, their squads were making a lot of captures so that they had demons coming out their ears.

Bless her, she turned to me and said, ‘That’s a metaphor,’ and I had to just grin at how silly she was, trying to be all helpful. I told her, ‘thanks, I got it,’ and she got that little pouty face for a second as she realized what she was doing and said, ‘I’m over helping, aren’t I?’ with a little frown.

Goddess, she can be so adorable, so cute while lost in her version of the world. I beamed wide and wanted so much to be able to hug her, stroke her hair, just be close to her, sink into my own delightful world of Willow-contact.

Mr. Giles came back out of the kitchen offering everyone the bowl while saying that the activity had shifted but not stopped, which he found very interesting. Anya chimed in with, ‘to an extremely bored person, maybe. Well that was a thrilling hour.’ And that seemed to be the cue to everyone to get up and the meeting to end.

Mr. Giles got kind of annoyed with Anya and berated her for her snide attitude, pointing out that he had a fair amount of experience with these things and if he thought there was a matter of importance brewing then…

And that’s when I heard the door open and my world suddenly imploded like the cheap house of cards my hopes and dreams really are.

Continued immediately below...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 14C
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:41 pm 
From the Journal...Part 14C

Everyone looked towards the entrance with, not shocked but maybe dumbfounded faces. I was watching Mr. Giles at the time and he sort of trailed off, while looking back over his shoulder. For a second I wondered if Adam hadn’t chosen that moment to make an appearance, given how stunned everyone seemed.

She looked especially stricken, and as I followed their gazes I saw a small boy, about their age, with short, tussled, kind of dark brownish hair wearing jeans and a worn brown sheepskin jacket. He said, ‘hey,’ in a sort of low monotone and it was like everyone was frozen in place.

After a slight pause she said, ‘Oz,’ in a soft, sort of astounded voice and as she did it seemed like everything was collapsing in on me. One little word, barely a syllable long, had so much power to strike a quickly growing note of despair in my heart. So this was Oz.

I’m afraid I echoed her, saying his name as well, only with a sinking foreboding that everything I’d thought was going so well, was right with the world, had just shifted, changed forever. I let out an involuntary sigh and ducked my head a bit, closing my eyes, hoping subconsciously, vainly, that if I didn’t see what was happening maybe it wouldn’t be real, that he’d be gone when I opened them back up.

She asked when he got back, still in that quiet, astonished voice and I couldn’t help wondering if I didn’t detect a note of longing, maybe relief, in it?

He replied that he pretty much just got back, only somehow said it in less words. An awkward silence followed but Xander moved forward to fill it, gently chiding Oz for not writing or calling the group with a genuine warmth and affection that left no doubt that he was welcomed back, had a tie to the group that I’ll never have.

They shook hands, Oz acknowledging his lapse, saying he was sorry. Buffy asked, a bit more coldly I thought, or perhaps with just a bit of reservation, if he was here, here, or just passing through? While Mr. Giles, ever the gracious and proper host, entreated the group not to bombard him with questions and offered tea or anything else he might want. It was so obvious that he belonged with the group, even after his absence that I just hung me head and tried not to sob or give in to my fears. Maybe he was just passing through? I tried to cling to that false hope like a mother does to a dead child, unable to let go of something so cherished.

Oz declined, and then came into the room, walking right up to her. She didn’t move though Anya did give them a bit more space. He said something about checking if he could crash with a friend, but that he was hoping they could talk later, tonight. She responded that she guessed so and he said he’d come by her place and she barely got out an, ‘OK.’

Oz looked at everyone else, said it was great to see them again, and then left. He was there all of what, five minutes at most and it was like she’d been struck in the forehead with a bat. Her eyes were wide, her cheeks slightly flushed and I don’t think she blinked once the whole time. It might’ve been comical, her standing there sort of making fish out of water motions if it weren’t so horrible. It felt like everything was starting to spin around me and it was all I could do to not topple off the stool.

Silenced reigned for a moment after he left, and Anya stated the obvious, saying that everyone was uncomfortable now. Goddess, I wish I had been only ‘uncomfortable!’

Buffy moved towards her best friend and asked if she was OK? She turned to the Slayer and just sort of said, ‘what?’ in a lost way that seemed to send a sharp jab through my heart. This was the moment she’d been hoping for, dreaming of, since he’d left. I just couldn’t stay there any longer, I had to go, get away from them…her. I didn’t want to make things worse or harder on her, start to cry and embarrass myself in front her group. She hasn’t told them about us and if I acted all hurt and jealous she’d have even more worries on her head. I couldn’t do that to her, no matter how badly I felt. Things were changing and no matter how much I wished that nothing had happened, that it wouldn’t matter, I knew that wasn’t possible. Oz was back, he wanted to see her, talk, and I’d better get used to it.

Somehow I managed to find both my feet and my voice without falling over, though I’m sure I stuttered horribly. I spluttered that I just realized or remembered that I was late for a study group and she came towards me saying my name, asking me to wait, her hands reaching for mine.

I couldn’t take it. I wanted to throw myself around her, hold her possessively to me, never let her go, and I knew that if she got close enough that’s exactly what I’d do. Instead I moved backwards saying, ‘no,’ or more likely, ‘n-n-no, no,’ like the stupid dork I am. I told her it was OK, as if anything really was, and that she should be with her friends; that I had to go, and practically ran from the room though I heard her plaintively say, ‘but…’ as I exited.

I hit the colder air outside and everything blurred. I angrily wiped at my eyes and started running. I am such an idiot! How could I have ever thought that things could go right? Of course he was going to come back at some point, no one leaves behind such a fantastic, amazing, wonderful woman like that. How could I’ve not seen this moment was inevitable?

I ran till my chest heaved and lungs ached, the cold air kept my tears at bay, and the pain from lack of oxygen at least distracted me a little bit form that tearing at my heart. All I needed then was a run in with Mandy or her crowd and my day would have been a complete ruin. Whatever powers that be took a little pity on me, however, and I made it back to my room, fumbled for my key, eventually got it into the slot, and tumbled inside without further incident.

I threw myself on my bed and though I felt like I’d been stabbed repeatedly, I didn’t start bawling. I was just so afraid, scared that Willow and Oz would patch things up, that he was here to stay and I would start to see less and less of her. The one bright, red sun of my life dimmed, hidden and slowly pulled away from me.

Oh, Mother, it hurt so much. I could still smell the lingering traces of her on my pillows and with a sudden rush I realized that might be the last time her beautiful head graced them. A small stream of tears did leak out of my eyes, wetting the fabric while I rocked back and forth my arms wrapped tightly around my knees. I prayed, prayed that it wouldn’t be true, that he’d leave after they talked, that he just wanted to catch up a bit and then move on, but I couldn’t make myself believe it.

I still see her looking at him, so confused, unsure what to do, what to say, but agreeing readily enough to see him, our plans forgotten and cast to the side. I can’t tell whether I’m nauseous or hungry or what. My stomach is quivering worse than a bowl of jello in an earthquake. It’s past 9:00 now and no word or call from her.

Should I call? No, that wouldn’t be right. They do have a lot to catch up on; I don’t want to intrude on that. I’ve got to be strong and just wait this out. I tried going through the book of spells she got me, but the letters kept jumbling together so I couldn’t make any sense of them. I don’t want to listen to the CD she left, or even the radio, I think that would make it even worse. I just don’t know what to do now.

Everything’s updated in my journal, maybe I’ll just try and look through some spells again, or stare at my art history book, go to sleep early. But what if she decides to come over later? She’s done that before, come over after stuff with her other friends doesn’t work out, or after she’s done, so she can tell me all about what happened, how she’s feeling. That could still happen. Maybe I should wait up, be ready just in case she knocks, I’d hate to sleep through that and miss her.

Goddess, I don’t know what to do, I just wish she was here with me.

Continued immediately below...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 14D
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:44 pm 
From the Journal...Part 14D

Tuesday Morning: It’s almost lunch and I’ve missed class all morning. It doesn’t matter. Nothing does anymore. I need to wash my pillowcases.

        Last night was bad. I looked through some of my spells, but kept coming across ones we’d done together or intended to in the future. No chance of that now, of course. It hurt when I came across the energy exercise that we’d done the first night she kissed me.

        What did I know of pain then?

        I probably sniffled a bit, got bleary eyed. Like I ever had any chance. You should never forget who you are, what you are.

        I think I just closed it and carefully replaced the book on its shelf, or maybe I threw it away from me, whatever. I still had hope then. Hope that she’d show up late in the night, hope she’d come over to tell me all about her ‘talk’ with Oz. So naïve. But damn it, so quickly? And after all the pain he caused her?

        It doesn’t matter. Good and evil don’t mix, that’s all there is to it. I really should have known better. Father always tried to warn me. I should’ve listened to him. He’s been so right, I belong at home.

        I probably stared at my art history book. I recall colors, vague shapes. Who can tell impressionists from realists when all of life is an abstract of misery? Stupid pictures of people blithely going about their lives, unaware of what’s really out there. Idyllic landscapes without a hint of what they conceal. So false.

        I didn’t even bother with my trig.,. My eyes kept being drawn to the book she got me while at Stanford. It sat there like a big, beckoning haven. Suddenly the archaic French and spells from a time long ago seemed particularly inviting. This time the words did not spin in my head and the spells became clear. I think in my stupidity I was expecting more of a cipher or code to complicate the true nature of the spells and that wasn’t the case. They were written in a barely veiled manner.

        As I read and translated, it became apparent that Golina was originally from Italy and fled to Spain, which is odd as the beginning portions made it seem like she was Spanish and left that country to avoid the Inquisition, yet further on there were hints of pursuit even before she got to Spain. The wardings and glamours to hide herself seem especially strong. It’s too bad those can’t hide me from my life, now.

        I was lost in the book, and for a brief while my worries were forgotten. However, a group of girls heading down to the snack bar ripped me from my refuge, and I noticed it was almost 1:00 am already. Still no word from her. Of course there wouldn’t have been would there?

        I showered and tried to lay down. I figured she wouldn’t be coming over, but sleep seemed to elude me. I tossed and turned but couldn’t get over the gnawing in my chest. Pathetic little demon-girl lying there hoping, dreaming for her love to show up. Like that was even a possibility.

I even had vague hopes she might’ve told him about me, how I’d been there for her, helped her with the pain his sudden departure caused, been her friend when the Scooby group was strained, worked different spells with her. Yeah, I’m sure my name came up. I was so stupid I sort of half expected her knock at any moment. What a laugh.

        I finally fell asleep at some point. I dreamed that I lived by myself in the country, a house both like and unlike home. A storm was overhead and lightning crashed down on the nearby hills, shattered trees closeby, yet there was no rain, just the rumbling, crashing and associated rattles from within the house. I feared that the violence of the storm would sweep me away.

        I apprehensively looked outside and knew she was coming for me, pursuing me with a relentless passion. If she got there before I left, everything would be so much worse. She’d take my life, my soul and fly away with them leaving me a broken empty shell, another in a long line of the same.

        I had to pack, to leave, flee as fast as I could while I was still unscathed. In the distance above the tempestuous thunder I could hear howling; danger closing in on me. I grew even more frightened and my hands shook. I knocked a glass over in my nervousness. She was almost here and if I didn’t get out now, I never would. Was that her knock at the door?

I woke soaked, my breath coming quickly. I swore I heard laughing outside and a faint flicker of lightning lit the room. For a moment I thought she was with me, lying by my side. I had a brief jolt of hope and joy. But that was crushed when I looked over and saw it was just the other pillow, that I must have been clutching at some point while I slept. Stupid, but I’d purposely left the door unlocked so she could get in if I was asleep and it was late. More vain hope.

I felt cold and the sheets and blanket had gotten kicked onto the floor during my tossing and turning. I gathered them up and did go to the window. I saw three girls running across the lawn back to their dorm, doubtless heading back after a late night date. To think that I ever had similar aspirations with her.

I tried to get back to sleep but just kept on flipping from side to side, never getting comfortable. No rest for the wicked, I guess. In my mind I kept on seeing her and him talking, he’d explain why he left, saying he was sorry and that he’d changed, grown and matured. She’d give him a look that was vulnerable and open, she’d say how much she missed him and that she had been waiting for his return, had almost given up hope, but now that he was back, that he had dealt with his fears and the wolf within him they could start again, allow their relationship to regrow. She was so thankful things could get back to normal, like before. Maybe that was another dream and I actually did nod off at some point.

Eventually the room grew lighter and the sun was shining in, in that long shadowed early morning way. I gave up on sleep and fidgeting and imagining and trudged down to the showers, figuring I might as well get up.

At some point I had the brilliant idea to go over to her place and see if she was all right. I mean, something could’ve happened to her. I realized that the previous night had been a full moon and that it was possible things had gone wrong. Or maybe she’d just need someone to talk to, discuss what had passed between them. She’d confided so much in me before when she needed someone to talk to. I wanted to be there and supportive for her, no matter what was happening.

I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I just wanted to see her one more time, make sure he hadn’t stolen her from me forever. Find out if there was any hope for us. I found out how things stood all right.

It did take a little while to work up what little courage I had to go to Stevenson Hall. What if Buffy were there? I didn’t want to embarrass her or make things worse, seem all jealous and stalkery. It was never my intention to infringe, I just had to see her, see if that smile would be turned towards me, look at her soft red hair and the way it hangs so beautifully, brings out the green in her eyes, the way her cheeks sort of get all round when she grins, that cute little upturned nose. I wanted to see that look she gives me sometimes again, the sparkle in her eyes and hear the delightful Willow babble…

Goddess, don’t think of things like that! You have to forget all that now, she’s not yours no matter how much you wish it. Idiot.

Eventually I got there, it was still early, well before her first class in the morning on Tuesdays and I knocked.

He opened the door.

Oh, Mother, they’d spent the whole night together. He hadn’t even changed his clothes from the previous day. I could feel my heart drop, tear, shatter right there. The bed look rumpled but not slept in, and all I could think was how much she’d missed him, how much history they’d had together, that he was her first. I no longer pictured them just talking late into the night.

I finally managed to get out an apology and stammered that I’d come back. She was nowhere in sight and it was obvious Buffy hadn’t been there either. Goddess, I just wanted to crawl away, slink off, but he asked if I was looking for Willow, saying she was just in the bathroom down the hall.

I was already backing away, recoiling as if the distance would somehow make it easier to take, ready to just flee before the tears started. How could I have ever thought she’d still be my girlfirend after he returned?

I stuttered something about it being OK when obviously nothing was. The hallway seemed to spin a bit and my sight narrowed on his face as he mentioned that he’d seen me at Mr. Giles yesterday, making it a question that needed a response.

I could barely think, it was like I was looking down a long dark tunnel at him and I could feel the deepest wrenching and twisting in my chest. Somehow I managed to say that yeah, sometimes Willow takes me with her to the Scooby meetings. He asked if I was sure I didn’t want to come in and it was so obvious she hadn’t mentioned anything about us, like there was an ‘us’ now, to him. He seemed so open and nice, a pleasant boy and I just shook my head and started off before the tears that were threatening to come up burst loose.

Oh, Mother, I barely made it out of the dorm before they were streaming down my face. It was like I was lost and couldn’t find home, couldn’t get my bearings and all that I felt was anguish and despair. I kept stumbling around, I think I bumped into a few of the early risers but they all had places to be, concerns of their own and barely noticed me. No one should notice me; it would have been so much better if she’d never come out of her room that night.

I made it to my building and went up the stairs, each step taking me further from her, back to my little prison where the scent and memories of her would slowly fade till they were indistinct and overwhelmed.

I threw myself on the bed and buried my face in her pillow and cried and sobbed, striking the bed, occasionally just holding the pillow to me trying to get some comfort from what remained of her.

Oh, Goddess please don’t let this happen. I need her so much, still love her so deeply, I can’t stand feeling like this. How many damn tears can one person shed? I swore when I was done last time that I didn’t care, that I’d cover myself in ice, a cold detachment, but the pain bursts through like it was a gossamer veil. Maybe I really am just getting what I deserve.

Stupid journal, why the Hell am I even bothering now?

It’s funny, no matter how bad this hurts, no matter how hollow I feel I still want her to be happy. At least she’s got someone to love and who will love her and isn’t keeping secrets, has maybe overcome the evil inside him. She…she deserves that. Someone who can make her happy, who can share all of their life with her. Someone she might be able to love.

What am I going to do now, Mother? Do I really have the strength to stand by, be her friend and nothing more? I love her so much, she felt like a part of me, like she really did care about me, will that change? How could it not?

Goddess I’ll never feel her lips again, never wake up with her pressed against me and her wonderful face the first thing I see in the morning. She’s the only real friend I’ve ever had, I don’t want to lose her. How am I ever going to get through this?

Tuesday Evening: I tried to be strong, for her, but I don’t know if I can continue to do it. They might not have spent the night in bed, but it’s only a question of time before they do. I just wish we could have made love once, known what it was like, shown her how I felt about her. I don’t suppose I’ll ever get that chance now.

        I thought about calling Father, telling him I was ready to head back home, take my appropriate place like I know he wants. At least the pain there is short and fades quickly. Here it comes in waves, a sudden tide crashing down when you least expect it. A continuous crush you can’t get away from. You notice something she left behind, a top or sweater and you realize this is all that’s left now. After a while that agony recedes somewhat only to build again a short time later when you think, ‘I have to tell her about…’ and realize you can’t do that, not anymore. It hurts so much I don’t think I making sense anymore, but nothing about what’s happening makes sense to me.

        Oh, Mother, the worst of it is that she’s in as much turmoil as I am. Well, is miserable, too, for the moment at least; torn between what she’d hoped for and the way things developed. I’ve seen her anguish and it really was worse than seeing him standing in her room this morning. I didn’t think I could feel anymore pain, yet seeing her tears and what she’s going through showed me I was wrong. I can’t stand watching her cry, it takes what’s left of my heart and wrenches it further out of shape and though I fervently wish to comfort her, ease her situation, I…I’m probably just making it harder. For her sake I hope they reconcile quickly.

        I’d finally gotten over crying, again, and was just sort of sitting listlessly in my room trying to decide if it was worth attempting some food or maybe even going to class when I heard her knock on my door.

        At first I thought it was my imagination, my need so great that it was tricking my senses into hearing what I so desperately wanted to hear. But it came again and then my heart lurched and my mind swirled as I realized this could be her coming to tell me that they were back together now and I should forget about all that’d happened in the last few months, it’d all just been a way for her to pass the time till his return.

        I slowly made my way to the door and opened it.

        Oh Goddess, I couldn’t get any words past the lump in my throat. How many times had the simple act of opening the door for her brought me more joy than I’d ever thought possible? She stood there a vision of beauty and desire, still in her orange shirt, that blue sweater with the flower on the right side partially unzipped, a green fabric necklace around her delicate throat.

        We just gazed at each other for a moment and she gave a tentative little smile as she said, ‘hi.’ Her hands were held nervously together in front of her and the discomfort was palpable, even without looking at her aura. I was torn between weeping and embracing her, trying to chase her distress away with a flurry of kisses. She seemed to be suffering and my concern for her almost drove the thoughts of her and him from my mind, almost.

        I finally got out a hello of my own and we continued to just stare at each other. I…I was afraid to move, to say or do anything more, but finally I was able to move out of the way and indicate that she should come in. I thought that this might be the last time she’d be here, in my room, maybe it’d be the last time I saw her for a while and I wanted to remember every part of her sweet face, fix in my mind my love’s appearance so that it’d fade less with time. What use are ex-almost girlfriends when your true love returns?

        She said she could only stay for a minute, that she had class, and any vague hopes I might’ve had deep in the back of my mind evaporated. I closed the door and said I had class too though it wasn’t for an hour or so. I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable or feel like she was running off. I don’t know, I could barely think straight then. I just kept seeing her and him together all night.

        We stood further apart than normal, as if repelled like similarly charged magnets unable to ever come together, not that anything about her could ever repel me, but… She started off sort of nervously saying that she wanted me to know that what I saw this morning wasn’t…

        I cut in, she was still using that soft, deliberate, confused and hurt voice and I wanted to ease whatever it was she was going through. I knew I’d suffer for it later, but now, with her here before me, I couldn’t stand that state she was in. It was driving me crazy to think that I was partially responsible for it. I told her it was OK, that I always knew if he came back…and it was her turn to interrupt and say they were just talking, that nothing happened.

        It shouldn’t have mattered to me, it really shouldn’t have made my heart surge with hope for a brief moment, but I let out a relieved breath and smiled, before my doubts rose up again and I asked, ‘really?’

        She nodded and continued saying that it was intense, just talking, they had a lot to talk about and that destroyed whatever hope was rekindled. They had too much history, too many things tying them together for me to ever really have a place with her. I wanted to look at my feet, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

        She turned from me and said she kinda felt like her head was going to explode as she walked towards the corner and paused, maybe to gather her thoughts. Again her inner anguish was so apparent that as she turned back I had to say that no matter what happened, I’d still be here, that I’d still be her friend. I just wanted to say something, anything, that might set her a bit more at ease no matter how difficult or unlikely it might be.

        She turned back to me and immediately agreed that we’d still be friends, that it wasn’t even a question. I told her that I knew what Oz meant to her, but she questioned how I could when she wasn’t even sure? She paused looking away, down, anywhere but at me and I moved closer to her, the urge to hold her almost taking control of me.

She finally looked back up at me and went on saying that she knew what he meant to her previously. She hesitated again, searching, perhaps for how she really felt, or how to put it into words, before saying that he left and everything changed, she changed. Then she looked at me with longing, or maybe just the gaze of one totally lost, adrift without any beacons and added softly, ‘and we…’ before trailing off.

I moved a little closer and prompted her to continue with a ‘what?’ And she said she didn’t know, that life was starting to get so good, again, and she moved forward towards me adding that I was a big part of that while a tear dripped down her cheek.

Oh, Goddess, I swallowed and bit my tongue. She needed me to be strong, supportive, to hear her clearly when all I could notice was how troubled she was, how miserable and nothing in this world will ever compare to watching the sorrow pour out of her, and knowing that I helped contribute to it.

She continued in little spurts saying something about here came the thing she’d wanted the most of all, and she didn’t know what to do. She wanted to know what to do, but she didn’t, and she looked up at me with those watery green eyes so full of pain that I almost broke down myself. I never, ever, want to see her like that ever again, so completely lost and unsure of herself, so hurt, like a child torn between two beloved parents that are splitting and going in separate directions. Whatever pain I might have caused her at Lowell house was nothing compared to the rawness of emotion she showed then.

I reached out one tremulous hand and stroked her wet cheek and told her to do what makes her happy, as if that helped in any way, though I meant it with all my heart. All I wanted, still want, is for her, at least, to be happy, to know some contentment and joy in her life. She opened up so many possibilities for me, gave me a glimpse of pure happiness, how could I ever want less for her? Even if it is with him.

She just sort of shook her head and put her arms around me. I held her softly, stroked her back as she cried on my shoulder and clung to me. I…I tried to hold back my own tears, but I just couldn’t. She hurt too much and the thought that I might never hold her again caused a slow progression of tears to work their way down my cheeks as well.

I whispered in her ear that it would be all right. That she’d know what to do when the time came. That she’d be happy again and that life could be good again.

Her body shook and I kissed the top of her head, kissed her neck and murmured something about how she was too good for things not to get better, I don’t know, I just wanted to make her feel better and said whatever false platitudes that came into my mind, though I think for her they might have been true. She really is too nice, too good, not to have things get better

Her mouth hungrily found my own and we kissed once, passionately, her lips moist her tongue moving almost frantically against mine. We broke and kissed again, slightly less urgently and when we finally parted I kissed her forehead, her cheeks, even her little glistening nose. I didn’t care, I just wanted to chase away this terribly sad and conflicted person masquerading as my Willow.

Continued immediately below...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 14E
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:47 pm 
From the Journal...Part 14E

She kissed me back a couple more times and the tears finally stopped and she sniffled a bit as she embraced me again, her arms and hands holding me tight. I stroked her hair, her back, held her closely as well and when we separated she rubbed at her eyes and nose.

I offered her some tissues and she blew her nose, complaining about how hot she was and took off her sweater, tossing it towards the desk chair. She sat down on my bed and though she still seemed dejected and upset, looked at least a little more at ease.

I gave her another Kleenex to wipe her face and eyes and then sat down next to her. I put my arm around her and she leaned her head against my shoulder. She let out a little sigh and said, ‘Tara, what am I going to do?’

Thank the Goddess you can’t break a heart anymore than mine already was. I just sighed and told her truthfully that I didn’t know, in the end it was going to have to be something that she figured out for herself because she’d have to live with whatever decision she made.

I felt her arm snake around my waist and it gave me a bittersweet smile, how I marvel each time we touch, how natural it feels and how exciting the tingle of energy is between us. Living without that is going to be so hard, like suddenly developing color blindness, everything will be dull and grey. I shuddered at the thought of her not being in my life.

I finally told her that the only piece of advice I could honestly give her was something my Mother had once told me near the end. She’d said not to rush into decisions in the heat of the moment, when sudden emotions overwhelmed you and nothing seemed right. She told me to take the time to identify, come to grips with, your feelings so that you knew your heart and could follow what it said. I told her that the right choice would become clearer as she realized how she really felt, what was correct for her. She’d feel it deep down and then she’d be able to be happy again, because she’d know she did what was best for her.

She just shook her head and said she hoped so, everything seemed like such a miasma now. She just felt sick and floaty, like she had no bearings and she just wanted to be held, make believe everything was all right.

I swallowed and blinked back more tears. We shuffled further onto the bed and as we lay down, drew her into me. One arm I slipped underneath her, between her neck and the pillow while the other I wrapped tightly around her middle. She pressed back into me and I could feel a series of little shivers go through her.

Goddess, when will the pain ever end? How much evil am I paying for? Her scent was so overpowering, the desire for her so strong and yet the last thing I needed to feel right then. I closed my eyes and lost myself in her nearness. I felt her hands hold my arm, press me more firmly around her. I just wanted to tell her how much I loved her, how we’d make it through this together, that everything would be all right in the end, but I couldn’t. That would have made things more difficult, more confused for her. She didn’t need that, she required comfort more than anything else and that’s what I tried to give her. One eye silently leaked onto the pillow, but I ignored it.

After a while she’d stopped moving and I almost thought she was asleep. I softly stroked her forehead and cheek, hoping the sensation might help her rest, if that was what she needed. Instead she just sighed and I realized her cheeks were wet again, too.

A short time later I felt her shift and notice the clock by the bed, it was almost past 2:00 in the afternoon, I realized I’d missed another class and lunch but didn’t care. However, she let out a squawk and sat up suddenly. Her eyes were dry at least and she did seem more calm and composed, though now she had her ‘I’m late’ and slightly embarrassed face.

She looked back at me and said that she was supposed to be in the library with a study group for one of her classes and she couldn’t miss it as they’d been planning on getting together all last week and the presentation was almost a third of their grade and she really didn’t trust any of the others to get it right, or get much done as they all seemed like excessive party types not study bunnies but she was stuck with them and she had the same clothes on from yesterday and needed to shower and change and she’d never make it in time and still get there before they left or gave up…

I smiled in genuine amusement and just lay there while she sort of paced and fidgeted throughout her babble. She turned back to me and the sudden energy seemed to drain from her. She gave me a wistful smile and leaned down and kissed me on the cheek saying thanks and that she didn’t mean to be such a bothersome cry baby, but that she was glad we’d gotten to talk a bit, that I’d definitely helped and that she’d call me later.

And she was gone.

I didn’t have class for a little while and so I just remained on the bed remembering how good it felt to be holding her. She was right, life had started to get so good, how bad would it be now?

Eventually I rose and got my books and stuff ready. Maybe he was just passing through and would be back on the road soon. I could hope, but of course that ignores who I am and I knew better. It wouldn’t take long before she realized they’d spent so much more time together, were closer than we ever became, and ended up as a couple once again. It seems so pre-ordained.

After that what would happen? She’d come over occasionally, do a spell now or then, but never stay the night. No more waking up with her in my bed, snuggling through the darkness. The rest of the group would continue to see me as an intruder, she certainly wouldn’t be dragging me with her anymore, so I’d remain outside their tight circle. Eventually she’d find that schoolwork, boyfriend activities and Scoobyage would take up all her time and there’d be none for me.

Goddess, could I live through that? See her slipping away from me day by day? Would I become angry and resentful, or desperate and clingy, inventing any reason to see her again, run into her after class or even start putting myself in danger, not caring if something happened to me, hoping that she’d notice and come rescue me? Would I sink that low? Would I even care?

I saw her sweater lying on the seat of the chair and couldn’t help indulging my sense of self pity. But I just wanted to hold onto her a little longer, have some of her scent, her presence, with me. I held the soft knitting in my hands, smelled her and was a little dizzy. Goddess the way she made me feel; though I suppose it could have been the lack of food, too.

I put on her sweater and it seemed like she was with me. I know, it was a pathetic attempt to hold onto something that was drifting away, it probably wasn’t healthy and almost got me killed, but at the time it was so comforting, reminded me that at one point she had said we were girlfriends.

I went to class, it was a blur as before, though I think I managed to take a few notes. Really I wasn’t thinking about much at all, just sort of drifting on autopilot or something. No need to dwell on what wasn’t likely to happen, though images of her still dominated my mind at various points and I caught myself wondering what we’d do for the Beltane ritual, even though that’s a couple weeks off and who knows if she’ll even be interested then?

Afterwards I plodded out of class and headed down the hallway lost in thoughts of some of the spells we’d done, especially how fantastic it’d been when our energies merged and we’d floated the rose, it had been so beautiful, like her, of course.

Suddenly I heard her name called, and I sort of turned and there he was, standing by one of the bulletin boards. He said ‘hey,’ and came towards me commenting that he thought he heard Willow, which seemed pretty odd, though I guess with his werewolf senses he must have actually thought he smelled her.

Anyway, he came right up to me, cool, collected, a little shorter than me but with a sort of faded, stripped, flannel shirt over a dark T-shirt. He definitely looked like a musician, though maybe if I hadn’t known he was in a band it wouldn’t have seemed that way.

I said ‘hey,’ back and we awkwardly stood there a moment. I mean, what could we have to say to each other? I knew a lot about him but I was a total stranger. I noticed he was carrying a UCSD folder and a notebook and my heart plummeted: not just passing through then.

But I had to check, know for sure and so I asked him if he was coming back to school here, sort of nodding at his materials. He held them up a bit and replied that he was pretty much feeling highly motivated.

I knew at that moment that any hope of happiness with her was a thing of the past. It was like my life collapsed down and ended in that one simple sentence. Yeah, he would be highly motivated to come back, pick up where he left off with the most singular, unique and wonderful woman ever made. I couldn’t blame him and even as my heart sank rapidly and disappeared in the nether world where it belongs, I tried to put on a false front like I used to for Father. Nothing’s the matter, just be calm and don’t make things worse or Donny will really lay into you later, sometime when you think you’re safe or that he’s forgotten.

I managed to stammer that that was great, it was great for him and Willow. Goddess, I didn’t even stutter her name. He said he hoped so and I said, ‘good,’ thinking that at least she might have a chance to be happy and not deal with her parents or coming out or being gay. At least her life would be a little easier from now on. I might have stumbled over some more words and he interrupted asking if that was her sweater?

I knew instantly that it had been a bad idea to wear it, and ducked my head afraid to look at him and tried to just go on, saying that I hoped they’d be very happy, even though I knew that would be denied me from now on. I did, and still do, want the best for her, but I couldn’t look at him, it was like seeing my future isolation and loneliness standing in front of me.

He stated that I smelled like her in an accusatory voice, those werewolf senses I guess, and I stared at the top of my notebook. Why did he have to continue talking? Couldn’t he just leave me alone, he was going to get Willow, what more did he want?

He continued saying that she was all over me, did I know that? I wanted to cry out that it was only one last time! Just go, let me get to my room where I can let the mounting tears free and mourn for all that was being taken from me.

Instead I just spluttered that I couldn’t…couldn’t talk about that. Not right then, not with him especially. What she and I had was too private…personal, and I knew she still wasn’t ready to admit her nascent feelings for me to anyone else.

I tried to move off, to go around him and he reached out very fast and grabbed my arm, holding it firmly but not hard enough to cause any pain. He stated in a demanding voice, ‘but there’s something to talk about?’ And I realized he was quicker on the uptake than a lot of her other friends. Maybe he just paid more attention to her than they did.

He asked if we were involved, his voice getting loud and upset. I looked at him, some stairs nearby and then back to him saying clearly that I had to go. I knew this wasn’t a conversation we should be having, I just wanted to get out of there. This was for her to explain to him, not me.

He said that she never said anything about us and that they talked all night and she never…I made a move for the stairs, trying to get free and not give away anything she wasn’t ready for others to know, but he yelled, ‘stop!’ and grabbed both my arms, only harder now so that it hurt a little.

He asked point blank, if she was in love with me, demanding to be told the truth, if she was. Part of me wished I could say, ‘yes, you hurt her so badly when you left, now she’s with me, why don’t you just leave!’ But I couldn’t scream that even if I wanted to, I still don’t even know if it would have been true if he hadn’t come back and now it doesn’t matter. She’ll choose him, her first real love, and whatever we might have been able to develop will be irrelevant.

He backed off and let go of me, and started breathing heavily. There was a strange wet, almost crackling, sound and his hand changed, it became hairier, longer and clawed. I looked up at him and his eyes were full black and his teeth already starting to lengthen.

In a deeper, coarse voice he told me to run.

Who would have thought that something good would have come from that foul creature of Jonathan’s? Fortunately, having faced it and survived I wasn’t frozen with terror while Oz changed and didn’t hesitate but took off down the hallway towards the lecture hall. I knew I couldn’t cast a spell in my current mindset, my thoughts were way too scattered and unfocused, so I just hoped that I’d find a closet or someplace to hide again.

There was more wet snapping and then I could hear claws scrabbling on the tiles as he started chasing me. I looked back as I got to an empty lecture hall and sure enough a dog-like wolf creature was pursuing me in an ungainly quadruped lope that was faster than it looked.

I bounded up the stairs and towards the door to the slide and film projector storage room at the back of the rows of seats while he pursued along the wall. I slammed into the door trying to get it to open, but it was locked, I couldn’t get it to budge, and I was in no state to carefully telekinesis it open.

He came down one of the aisles towards me, and I froze for a second as he slid to a stop and looked towards me, nothing but bestial anger and hunger in his savage features.

I darted back down to the main floor and the Oz-wolf went back towards the wall. For a second I thought I might actually be able to get away, and then he leapt all the way down just before I could get out of the room, almost landing on me.

Now I was really scared and screamed and hastily backed off. At the time I wasn’t thinking clearly, I was just reacting on instinct, trying to survive, not thinking about how overmatched I was, how much my broken heart hurt.

Goddess, why didn’t I just let him kill me? Why didn’t I just let those fangs tear into my skin, rip chunks of flesh from my body? His snout could have torn into my stomach, greedily devoured all that was inside and it still would have hurt less than knowing that he was back to stay for good, that I was losing my Willow forever.

It would have been a sweet release from the misery and pain of living without her in my life to see his muzzle rise up with my blood running down his teeth, for things to go black as he dug further in the remains of my chest to devour my heart, a feast that probably would have left a sour taste in his mouth. Oh, Mother, I finally could have been with you again, would that have been so bad? Why was I so stupid and fighting to survive so much? What’s one less demon in the world?

But I didn’t give up. Maybe I just didn’t think of it, maybe I was just too scared and didn’t want any more pain. I guess I was just reacting and maybe at some basic level I knew it would be wrong to commit suicide, no matter how unlikely the means. Perhaps Father’s religious nature and lectures weren’t a total waste after all. Or my evil heritage wouldn’t let the suffering end so easily.

Whatever the case I desperately grabbed whatever was nearby and threw a plastic chair at the Oz-wolf. I t struck him as he leapt and he landed on the ground. I was shocked to see that he didn’t rise and just stood there breathing hard confused and afraid that it was some ruse.

A moment later I noticed the dart in his side and Riley came in placing some sort of pistol back in a holster under his arm. A few other guys were with him, presumably commando types from the Initiative. A bald black man inquired if I was ok and I tried to ask what was going on, but he just replied that they’d take it from here.

One of the others said it looked like something that attacked another of their group while they put the Oz-wolf in some sort of bag and zipped it up. Riley stated they’d take it back to the lab, make an ID and if it was, would put him down. Did that mean they were going to kill Oz? They wouldn’t do that would they?

Riley was one of the good guys, he’d never kill someone like that, would he? And what would that do to her? Yeah, it might clear the way for me, but she’d be devastated and I couldn’t bear the thought of her suffering any more. Certainly not when I could help prevent it.

I tried to tell him that they didn’t understand, that that was a boy, Oz, who they knew. But the bald guy just cut me off, put his hands on my arms and tried to settle me down. He said to listen, that they knew what they were doing and that I was in shock. I was shaking and could barely stand and tried to object but he said they’d handle it and everything was happening so quickly and I felt faint and sick and couldn’t get the picture of her crying and distraught over his loss from my mind.

Before I knew it they were gone, carrying Oz off in the bag and I was left alone, confused, shaken and unsure what to do next. I mean, I could’ve just gone back to my room and let things happen. Let the Initiative do whatever it is they do with monsters, but how could I live with myself then?

It could have been me they took instead, another demon captured and the world made that much safer. Maybe that would be better, be the subject of whatever experiments or captivity they institute. No chance of ever seeing her again, no false hopes or ‘what ifs.’

I shook off my melancholy and knew that I had to go tell her. This was her love who was in danger and I wouldn’t, couldn’t, cause her any more sorrow or grief. No matter how much it hurt, I had to go find her and see that they helped Oz before something bad happened to him.

I headed over to the library as fast as I could, my mind made up though his voice saying he was highly motivated to stay still echoed in my head. This was it, this really was the end. After this she’d be more caring and watchful over him, stay with him as much as possible, sort of like she had with me after the night in the closest. She has a protective streak that’s very strong even if she doesn’t let it show that often. I hadn’t let Oz kill me, but now I was going to commit emotional suicide. It almost brought me up short, but the thought of her reaction to his death kept me going.

I practically ran up the front steps to the library and moved quickly inside. She was in there somewhere and I went from section to section looking for her. I finally spied her sitting at a table with several others, it looked like they were researching at the moment. She had obviously changed and showered, she was now wearing a dark pink long sleeve top and a different necklace along with grey slacks. She actually didn’t seem to be reading so much as just resting her head above the book, but she saw me as I came in and got up and came over.

I stopped and it was like everything moved in slow motion. She rose up in a halo of delicate short red hair that floated about her head. Her brilliant green eyes shone with concern and interest and I had to bite my tongue again. She strode towards me like a vision of all that is beautiful and desirable in this world. So smart, confident and caring. My teeth clenched harder and I almost shook as I watched her arms swing, her legs move, her small breasts rise and fall as she approached. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget the moment as she came to me, maybe for one of the last times, friends or not.

She asked what was up and if I was OK in that worried voice of hers, like she already knew something was wrong. Oh Goddess, what would it have been like if we’d been able to stay together? How close would we have become, how deep did the link between us really go? I guess that just doesn’t matter now.

I hastily told her that Oz and I were talking and that he changed, right in front of me. She looked confused and objected that it was daylight and I told her I knew that, but it happened anyway. She got her really worried face and said, ‘Oh my god, are you all right?’ It was so good to hear her concern directed towards me, but I went on saying that I was fine; that Riley and the commando guys stopped him, but that they didn’t know it was Oz, I tried to tell them but they wouldn’t listen, they took him away.

Now she was verging on total frenzied-worry mode and she asked when, just now? I nodded and added that I thought they might hurt him, remembering what Riley said about putting him down. She was definitely upset and fearful for her friend and said she had to go, she had to find Buffy and I responded that I knew.

She turned and ran back towards her books while I silently watched.

So this is how it ends. Her running off to save her love, all other thoughts driven from her head. I watched her go, the way her rear and legs moved so effortlessly, so lovely and now completely out of my reach. Goddess how much I wanted her in my bed, and yet I wished her speed and luck as she gathered her possessions and exited in the other direction. I said a silent prayer to the Goddess asking for protection and guidance for this woman who needed her blessing, that she’d save her boyfriend before it was too late, avoid any added misery which had already fallen too heavily in her life.

I finally turned and headed back to my room feeling completely dejected and like I was walking to my own funeral. Oh Mother, why didn’t I let Oz devour me? What’s left for me now? Endless years of emptiness, despair and ‘what could have been.’ Is that my ultimate punishment, to see a chance for something so rare and exquisite yet to have it pulled away from me before it could be fully experienced?

Love isn’t beautiful and happy like Aphrodite on Xena, its cold and cruel, a harsh force that twists and pulls our souls to the breaking point and then gives that one final tug beyond.

Great, now the lights have gone out. I can barely see my journal, but what difference does it make? I cried again when I got back, of course. That seems to be all I’m good for lately. Blubbering, sobbing, wailing like a forlorn lost soul. My head throbs, my eyes ache, my nose is still running and it’s like there’s a gaping hole in my chest, as if the werewolf had reached in and grabbed my heart, not to tear loose but to squeeze and squeeze.

I don’t think there’s any point in continuing this journal now.

Goodbye, Willow, I loved you from the first moment I saw you.

Continued immediately below...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 14F
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:49 pm 
From the Journal...Part 14F

Wednesday Afternoon: Oh, Mother, I am deeply ashamed at how wrong I was, but I don’t think I even care. Maybe Oz really did kill me, rip out my throat and I’m in heaven now? I can barely believe how quickly, completely, suddenly things can change. Did someone slip some heroin or coke or whatever in my food? Is it possible that anyone can truly be this happy, feel like they are soaring through space and time at such speed and yet everything remain vibrant and over sharp, exceptionally clear where all was blurred and out of focus before?

        My sweet, sweet Willow. Mine now, completely mine as much as I’m hers. I wait for her to return, yet it’s almost like I can still feel her. Not physically, though there’ll be more of that later, I hope, but deep within me. It’s like we’re connected so much closer now, like I can feel her always with me, beside me, a warm tingle and faint, almost electrical, hum, distant yet pleasant.

Oh, Goddess I just want to shout with joy, roar until all the windows shatter outward, the very building shakes and trembles with my joy. I pinch myself to make sure I’m not alone and asleep in my room. To verify that this is all really happening, to me and not someone else. I want to cry again, but this time from sheer bliss, not sadness.

In my mind I can still feel…ah, a shudder runs through me and for once I relish the experience. I can’t wait for my divine Willow to get back.

I certainly didn’t feel that way last night. It’s hard to recall how low, how miserable I was then. The lights had gone out and I was left alone in the dark and at the time it seemed very appropriate. I had just about finished updating the journal…said goodbye in my mind to my Willow, to any hope of us. I don’t know if I felt such wracking despair even when Mother died. At least her pain was over then and she had fulfilled the natural cycle. No, this was much worse.

I closed the journal and set it aside, truly intending never to open it or work on it ever again. It would be both the headstone and memorial to the buried hopes of love and happiness I’d once had.

I moved from the desk to my reading chair and settled into it, bringing my legs up so I could put my arms around my knees. I cried just a bit, a final few tears, the last in a long river for I knew then what my life would be like. Dark, dim, cold. A time spent becoming numb and hardened, a shellshocked survivor walking through the world a ghost of my former self, still alive yet not living. Certainly not caring.

I still had her sweater on and that seemed both comforting and wrong. Like I was clinging to the past, to impossibilities but couldn’t bring myself to take it off. It was hers and eventually she’d get it back, but for now it reminded me of how she’d once covered my life with her presence.

I looked out the window, past the gauzy drapes and the campus was dark too, as if mourning with me. Yet beyond that Sunnydale was lit and a semblance of normal life went on, things progressed oblivious to what I felt or thought.

We’re all so caught within the limits of our perceptions. I wondered if she was out there then, if she’d saved him yet, if they would be happy together, have children or if it wouldn’t last? I kept seeing her running from me in the library, her body still so desirable, still causing a longing deep within, even in my deadened state. Oddly, I remember wondering how I was ever going to pass trig now? Hah, a brief flash of what…irrelevance, irreverence, the sardonic? I don’t know, it was a strange juxtaposition, worrying about one stupid class when my life was over. The mind works in strange ways.

I don’t know how long I sat there in the dark, no thought of lighting any of the candles ever crossing my mind. The darkness was where I belonged, where I would always be from then on.

After a while I heard her knock at the door. I thought at first it was just a hallucination or the echoes of memory, but it came again. My heart lurched and I realized that she’d need to tell me that she rescued him and to officially break up. She was too kind and considerate to just stop all contact with me at once. She’d come and say that Oz was safe, that he was going to stay and that they would be together from now on and that I should just forget about anything that passed between us. That she’d been hurt, lonely and vulnerable or things would never have progressed so far between us. We’d pledge to still be friends of course, but I already knew how that would end.

I finally emerged from my thoughts and got up and went to the door. I opened it with a heavy heart and this time, even the sight of her, a big squat candle with little flowers on it in her delicate hands, didn’t really cheer me.

She said, ‘no candles? I brought one with me. It’s extraflamey,’ in a soft, tender voice. She looked hesitant and a little nervous and it seemed to confirm all of my worst fears. This was the breakup news.

I just stood there and didn’t say anything. How could I? When she’s there, when I can see her, all I can think about is how much I love her. How much she means to me, how special and wonderful she is; how much I just want to hold her and have her arms around me as well. I recall cringing inwardly, thinking that this was going to be harder than I’d thought. That I wasn’t quite so deadened or cried out after all.

She gave me that little apologetic, pursed smile she sometimes gets, and came forward. I backed off and let her in and she handed me the candle. Our fingers brushed ever so slightly and the tingle, the thrill of the contact almost shook me to my core. I backed into my room as far as I could while she shut the door, hoping that the distance and darkness between us would act as a shroud, somehow make this easier.

She jumped right in with, ‘Tara, I have to tell you…’

And it seemed like too much. I could never not break down with her there. I actually needed to be alone, to restore the deadness about me. I interrupted just to get it over with quicker, telling her that I understood, that she had to be with the person she loved, and I don’t think I even stuttered that much. In my mind she was already with him, this would just make it official.

She sort of looked down at the candle, than back up at me with her little smile and said, ‘I am.’

Two little words said so matter of factly that they cracked into me like a whip, registering and not at the same time. My mind just couldn’t comprehend what she’d just said, the implications eluded me like most of the advanced trig formulas.

I just couldn’t process what I’d heard and asked her, ‘you mean?’ hoping for some sort of clarification, confirmation of what my heart was trying to tell my brain.

I gazed at her clearly, distinctly and her smile widened, that look was there and she said, ‘I mean,’ paused and added, ‘OK?’ still giving me that look, but with a little tentative fragility to it as well.

Oh, Mother, it was like a sudden burst of light and colors! A rebirth when no life seemed possible. Something blazed in my chest sending warmth throughout, I thought my head was going to shoot off my body. I could barely contain the feelings that were tearing through me as I responded, ‘Oh, yes,’ nodding and starting to grin myself, blinking back tears, confusion, hoping, praying this wasn’t some new cruel hoax or joke.

She advanced closer, her face lit by the candle, so open, her eyes looking directly at me, into me. There was no doubt, no hesitation at all. She continued looking at me, not breaking eye contact and moving just a bit nearer still, ‘I feel horrible about everything I put you through. And…and I’m going to make it up to you. Starting right now.’ Something had changed about that look, like a shadow that had always veiled part of it was no longer present. It made my knees shake and my hands tremble a bit to see her so open. Goddess I swore there was love in her expression, her eyes.

I thought for a moment I’d drifted off in my chair and was dreaming this, imagining the thing I wanted most, wanted so desperately. I kinda smiled and nodded my head, trying to clear my thoughts. I repeated, ‘Right now?’ questioningly, hoping that this was really happening, still partially afraid that it wasn’t.

She just nodded and if anything that look, the one I’d grown to cherish so much, deepened and I gently blew out the candle. There was no need for its light now, and I still wasn’t sure exactly what she meant, wouldn’t let myself speculate or guess, it was all in the Goddess’ hands now.

I put the candle down on the nearby desk and as I turned back to her she closed the distance between us and put her arms around me, tilted her head and our lips met in what seemed like the most exquisitely pleasurable, searing, kiss ever. My heart thundered in my chest so hard I wondered how it wasn’t bruising her. My entire focus seemed to narrow to her tongue and mine, our joined lips and the sweet taste and sensation of her. I hugged her to me with a fierceness and yearning that sought to heal all the doubts, fear and anguish that had overcome me before. I wanted her, needed her so badly. We kissed and kissed and I could have sworn it was like we were floating through the sky, no longer earthbound or limited by gravity.

Somehow we ended up by the bed and I think we would have toppled onto it but she broke off and said, ‘you know, you shouldn’t be wearing my sweater,’ in a sort of teasing, husky voice.

Her hands moved slowly up and slid the garment off my shoulders and down my arms. My breath came shorter and quicker and I felt her fingers move at the cord that tied my top together and she whispered, ‘nor this either.’

She undid the string and lowered her head to kiss my breastbone, my neck and once again our mouths clasped. We remained embraced for a while until she once more stepped back and her fingers found the bottom of my shirt. The contact of her skin on my belly sent new jolts through me and I realized she didn’t intend to stop this time.

She’d raised my shirt up halfway when I reached out and cupped her chin, stroked the line of her jaw with my thumb. Our noses almost touched and our eyes met as I quietly asked, ‘are you sure?’

She smiled again, sort of kissed the tip of my nose and replied, ‘Tara, I’ve never been surer. I love you. I’m just a dummy for not realizing it earlier.’ She kissed me one more time and added her softest voice, ‘no one makes me feel like you do…no one.’

She kissed me lightly then, and I let her fully remove my shirt and crushed her tightly to me. The fabric of her pullover felt smooth on my skin, yet I longed to feel her own velvety flesh against mine. I kissed her lips, her cheek, the area beside her ear and she shuddered slightly and I could feel her breath hot on my shoulder, her own lips on my neck. Each touch was scintillating.

Her hands undid my bra and she moved backwards to let it fall and to see my chest. Her tongue moistened her lips and her eyes shone in the light from outside. She raised a hand and covered one breast, rubbing it and the hardened nipple. Her breath caught as did mine and I gasped as her mouth fell on the other one. Her tongue swirled around my aureole and teased the nipple.

The heat, the soft moist flesh sent shivers of pleasure through me. I gasped again as she licked the whole mound and her other hand continued to knead and firmly pinch. I ran my hands through her hair and pressed her more fully onto me, reveling in her hot breath and the sudden nibbles of her teeth.

After a while I lifted her head up and kissed her harder than I intended, ran my tongue along her neck, felt the little flesh of her earlobe in my mouth and glanced it with my teeth. We kissed one more time and then her hand pushed me back onto the bed. In a quick, fluid motion she had her own top off and her torso sort of floated above me in the half darkness, pale and lit by the dimly filtered starlight. She looked like a dream, white, alabaster skin, her stomach smooth, and yet sculpted, the swell of her hips seeming to beckon me to what lie below.

I groaned as I felt the burning within my own center increase to an almost joyfully painful level. She still had on a sort of cutoff half shirt that covered her chest and I sat up and moved my hands under it to feel her small bosoms. She arched into my hands and then knocked them away so she could climb on the bed and kneel between my legs. She almost leapt on me, her arms pinning mine as her mouth once again kissed, licked and chewed at my breasts. I gasped again as she kept on and on, the moisture and heat tingling and then cooling as she went from one to the other. After a short time I almost moaned her name, she was driving me crazy with the need for release.

She raised herself up and took the last bit of fabric off her chest and it was my turn to lick my lips. She may not be as big as me, but they are so perfectly formed, so round and luscious, the tips jutting out, screaming for attention. Our bodies met fully as she bent back down and we kissed again. The feel of her on me, her leg driving between mine, our skin sliding and twisting made the previous tremors seem mild and induced whimpers from deep within me.

I turned and rolled her beneath me and then it was my turn to explore her. I let my lips trail down from hers, between her sweet little swells and along that taut, marvelous stomach. Her flesh was so soft, like silk only finer, and so much better to the taste. I rose back up and covered a breast, stroked her side and the other with one hand. She squirmed and moaned, exciting me that much more.

I confess that things blurred a bit after that. Somehow I wound back up on the bottom and her probing fingers unbuttoned my jeans, lowered them and my panties. She breathed in deeply and I could feel her fingers stretch through my curls, graze my inner lips, rub against the folds between my legs and I thought the most pleasant liquid fire had shot up through me. Her lips pressed against my hip, traced my pelvis, she ran her tongue along my thigh towards the inner region. As she worked my pants fully down and off she continued to kiss the right leg, then the left, as more skin was exposed.

Finally the encumbering, harsh, fabric was thrown off and I heard her own slacks and underwear hit the floor and suddenly she was back on me. Our naked bodies meshed, touched and slid together for the first time and again I shuddered, closed my eyes and let her tongue and mine continue their dance. How could anything like this be happening to me? The play of her muscles along me, the exquisite softness that seemed to envelop and send tiny quivers of joy and desire throughout me. My hands roamed her smooth back, traced the contrast of her magnificent hair, roamed over the rise of her rear. The taste and feel of her was beyond heavenly.

A moment later she rose up and ran her fingers like a summer breeze along my chest and stomach, at first whisper soft, barely grazing me yet oh so pleasant and hinting at firmer ones to come. Each mounting caress sent shudders of bliss and anticipation of the next through me. She stroked my side, my hips, my breasts, which already seemed to be her favorite spot, before working her way down towards my inner leg.

Her fingers had already touched the area a few times, but as her lips and tongue traced my thigh, as her head worked between my legs and I could feel her breath I spread my legs wider and almost shouted out loud as her tongue stroked me. She became more insistent and I could feel her cheeks on the delicate flesh of my inner thigh, her silky locks brushing against the skin.

Her tongue was a soft, almost pulsating mass as it pierced into me. I threw back my head and let the start of the ecstasy roll through me. Goddess I’d wanted her inside me so much, she caressed that inner nub of flesh and my hands clenched on the blanket. My back arced again and again and I could feel her fingers replace her tongue, thrusting deeper and deeper while her mouth still pressed wetly on my leg, on the folds. By the time the second finger joined the first I was almost convulsing and shrieking her name. Tiny starbursts shot through my mind and my whole body was wracked with pleasure and covered with a sheen of perspiration. It continued and continued till I thought I would burst.

The next thing I knew her lips caressed and lightly kissed my stomach, made their way back up to my breasts and I gasped again as she worked back up to my head. I kissed her mouth, held her on top of me and for a little while we just remained like this, our slick bodies wrapped together, our lips locking and unlocking, exploring each other’s necks, ears, faces.

At some point I huskily whispered, ‘your turn,’ knowing that the desire must be driving her mad. I wanted to touch, taste, caress every part of her. Our feet had brushed and even the contact of her toes with the top of my foot had sent a trembling and tingling throughout me. Now that I had the chance, I wanted to start to know all of her body, feel each muscle and learn what brought her the most delight and satisfaction.

She seemed to like the alternating soft tongue strokes and shallow bites on her breasts, having her nipple licked while the lips sort of sucked at the rest of her mound. The feel of her stomach as it narrows towards her pubic area, the musky, almost sweet smell of the soft strands that increases as you descend all drove me wild. Her inner juices are so intoxicating, the taste beyond any other that I’ve ever had. I licked her center, the area around it and it made her buck and thrash, made my own wetness increase.

I love the feel of her rear end in my hands, the contractions of her muscles, the soft and pillowy flesh, so smooth. I made her roll over so I could kiss and lick her cheeks, the small of her back and the little cleft below. She spread her legs and I could feel her stretch, almost like a cat, as my fingers and tongue rubbed the entrance to her core. A moment later, I felt her inner muscles closing on my fingers as they thrust into her. She pressed back against me and as the orgasm cascaded through her she moaned and then gasped my name; it was intensely exhilarating and erotic.

When she’d finally crested I withdrew my fingers and she turned and pulled me on top of her. Our lips met, pressed, slid, parted and once more she was in me, I was in her. Her pants filled my mouth and I rolled her back on top.

Oh Goddess, it went on and on. It was like we couldn’t get enough of each other. There was always someplace else to touch, to suckle or lick. Each new contact opening new vistas of ecsatic sensations, drawing forth new gasps or moans. We made each other come at least a couple more times before we were finally satiated, exhausted, and willing to just lie together enjoying the fading fire, the lingering peace and blissful feeling.

I don’t think our hands ever stopped moving, caressing, stroking as we lay on our sides looking at each other. I remember at one point her sweet, delicate, tender fingers brushed aside damp hair that had been plastered to my forehead, traced my jaw, made their way lovingly along my cheek. She smiled at me and I was surprised to feel a wetness on them. She hushed me before I could say anything, kissed the area below my eyes, and softly said, ‘I’ll never give you reason to cry again.’

I closed my eyes and let our foreheads come together, let our lips find each others’ in a slow, languid kiss, then whispered, ‘I’ll always love you. I…I think I was always made to love you.’

Her hand stroked my face once more and she said, ‘I love you, too, my beautiful Tara.’

We lay there, sweat slickened, still warm from the heat of our passion. I just sighed and pressed in closer to her, felt the contact of our chests together, the silky arm around me, and was never more completely happy or content. This is where I belonged.


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 14F
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 5:46 pm 
That was fantastic!

You did a great job of capturing Tara's feelings during the episode even though we didn't get to see much of her during it...

Beautifully done and definitely worth the wait.


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 14F
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:23 pm 


That was fantastic,as usual.You have an extreme talent for reaching the depths of a person,and then conveying them onto paper(or computer).The NC17 part was intensely sensual.Can't wait for more.


PS.I have liked all of your fic that I have read so far,keep on writing.

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